By Brett Malamud
Gone are the days of Fishsticks, golf in April, and Mad Mike. After GM Garth Snow’s recent string of moves, the Islanders have set themselves up to make some noise in the Eastern Conference for the next handful of years.
With Thursday’s news that the Islanders locked up Johnny Boychuk to a seven-year, $42 million deal that comes just two weeks after the team signed Nick Leddy to a seven-year, $38.5 million deal, Snow cemented the top defensive line for the years to come. Snow also has a hefty pool of prospects that are poised for big careers. I’d go so far as to say that the next decade’s defensive pairings could be set if GM Garth Snow wants it. It could look something along the lines of this:
Johnny Boychuk – Nick Leddy
Travis Hamonic – Ryan Pulock
Griffin Reinhart – Calvin De Haan
Not to mention that they’d still have the likes of Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield waiting in the minors for the call. Of course, the Islanders could look to flip one or two of these players, in the hopes of a greater return (whether it be an established player or another draft pick). Whatever the case, this team is extremely deep, thanks to Snow’s key trades and draft picks.
Looking in goal, Jaroslav Halak set the Islanders franchise record for the most wins in a single season. Snow flipped the struggling Chad Johnson for an upgraded backup goalie in Michael Neuvirth, giving the team someone they could rely on down the stretch.
Turning up front, Snow has built up the offense that led the team to last place in the NHL just a few seasons ago. That starts on the first line with homegrown forwards John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey. Anders Lee, Ryan Strome, and Brock Nelson come together to form the “kid line” of even more homegrown talent. The acquisition of Tyler Kennedy should help the penalty kill and should bring additional depth as this team goes forward into the playoffs this season. The signings of Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin proved to work out in the first season. The Islanders have found themselves with one of the deadliest offenses in the NHL. But don’t think that this is a fluke. No. The Islanders have more talent on the way in the likes of Joshua Ho-Sang, who is tearing it up in juniors. The 19 year old forward has 12 goals and 42 assists for a total of 64 points in just 44 games this season for the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. But it’s Islanders prospect Michael Dal Colle that is making headlines in Canada, tallying 38 goals and 49 assists for 87 points in just 51 games this season for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. The two are sure to be in the NHL soon enough, and will look to continue their success. There’s no way to predict the future, but the team is deep on offense and has its focal points locked up to long term deals.
Gone are the days of the team of the future. The future has finally arrived for the Islanders and now is the time to compete for the Stanley Cup in the years to come.
Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy
By Mike Basille
With a three game losing streak and losing their last game to the Winnipeg Jets, it is safe to say this team’s defensive problem is still not fixed. The penalty kill is still last in the league and it does not look like the top defensive pair can carry the load. In the bottom three of the league with 83 goals allowed on the season, this team needs a defensive swing fast. If anything, last game should have put this team over the top on making a trade. They allowed five goals (3 in less than 3 minutes) to a mediocre Philadelphia Flyers squad. This team is must make a defensive trade, an area in which they are weak and thin.
In regards to a possible trade, Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Tim Gleason’s name has been thrown around. After being a healthy scratch last game, it really looked like they were going to ship him. There has still been no sign of him being traded other than that. People may have overlooked that he was being scratched for the purpose of being traded, because he has only played in seven games this season. His stats definitely do not make you think a team should go out and get him but when you’re struggling like the Islanders have been, a veteran d-man could help. This is not the first guy I would pull the trigger on, but if it comes down to it, he would indeed help this team.
The Islanders would never make a trade with the Rangers right? So you would think, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Michael Del Zotto could possibly be seen wearing blue and orange. He still makes some glaring mistakes, but we must remember that this kid is only 23. The last two seasons he has posted a +26 so he must be doing something right! That is better than every Islander on the team had the past two seasons. If I am Garth Snow and the Rangers are serious about this deal, I would snatch him up fast.
Now we all want to know what the Islanders would have to give up for either of these two defensemen. In the case of Tim Gleason I would not want to see the Islanders giving up any more than a 3-4th round pick. He has had a rough start to the season and has found himself on the bench opposed to the ice. Now for a guy like Del Zotto, I would go and give away Michael Grabner. If the Rangers don’t bite on the struggling Grabner, I could see the Isles giving up a second rounder for him, but no more than that. If the Islanders want to turn this season around, they need to make a move now.
Mike Basile is a sophomore at York College Of Pennsylvania. He is a huge sports fan, and when it comes to hockey maybe considered a little obsessive. Giving insight on the Islanders and all things hockey. You can follow him on twitter at @mikeybasile1