Tag Archive | Johnny Boychuk

Team of the Future? Islanders Are A Contender For Years To Come

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

Matt Donovan

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.

NHL: New York Islanders at Boston Bruins

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

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New York Islanders Mid-Season Report Cards

By Mike Basile

The Islanders are off to a hot start this season. They’re in first place in the Metropolitan Division headed into the all star break. Here’s my mid-season grades for the team.

Forwards
John Tavares (21 G, 24 A, 45 pts)- The captain has been on and off all season, but when you need a goal he is always there for you, he is second in the NHL with 5 game winning goals. He is starting to heat up again with 6 points in his last three games. One big concern for me is he takes some bad penalties. Your captain can not be doing that. Grade: B+

Kyle Okposo (14 G, 30 A, 44 points)- Okposo is also coming on of late he has 5 goals and 7 points in his last three games. He is starting to find his game again and that chemistry we all know he has with John Tavares. With these two heating up this team gets even more dangerous. Grade: B+

Ryan Strome ( 8 G, 25 A, 33 points)- When Ryan Strome is on the ice, good things happen, and his +16 shows that. It seems like whatever line he moves to has a ton of success. His on ice vision is great and it doesn’t hurt that he has a wicked shot as well. Grade: A-

Brock Nelson (15 G, 15 A, 30 points)- Brock Nelson makes a living in front of the net, and it shows on the powerplay as he has 9 of his 15 goals when on a man advantage. He is very strong on the puck and is still maturing. He can very quickly turn in to one of the most dangerous players in the NHL. Grade: B+

Frans Nielsen (9 G, 16 A, 25 points)- Frans Nielsen has one of the toughest jobs of all players, as almost every shift you will see him out against the other team’s top players. He is very skilled defensively and his 25 points are really helping the secondary scoring for this team. Grade: B

Josh Bailey (8 G, 13 A, 21 points)- Bailey looks to be a fit on that top line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. He has 6 points in his last three games and his 21 points this season came in only 34 appearances. It seems like Josh Bailey is finding himself. Grade: B

Nikolay Kulemin (11 G, 9 A, 20 points)- Kulemin has been a great addition to the New York Islanders team. He is great on the penalty kill and has three shorthanded goals. Very good third line player who is also heating up to add to the secondary scoring. Grade: B

Anders Lee (13 G, 5 A, 18 points)- Anders is a player you love to have on your team, he is gritty, works hard and loves to score those dirty goals in front of the net. He also has five game winning goals this season which is 2nd in the NHL. Grade: B+

Mikhail Grabovski (6 G, 8 A, 14 points)- Grabovski has been one of the biggest disappointments on the team this season. Failing to hit the net on good scoring opportunities and making bad decisions with the puck leaves him with only 14 points. He will need to step up if he wants to stay in the lineup. Grade: C-

Casey Cizikas (4 G, 6 A, 10 points)- Cizikas is quietly having a pretty good season. He isn’t a player who is going to go out and get points every night and even gets looked over on the 4th line because of Martin and Clutterbuck leading the league in hits. He does his job on the penalty kill and is one of the team’s best faceoff men. Grade: B-

Cal Clutterbuck (4 G, 5 A, 9 points)- Cal is second in the league in hits and according to Don Cherry is a part of the “best fourth line in NHL history.” I’d like to see him contribute more offensively because I feel like he has the skill to put up a 30 point season. Grade: C+

Matt Martin (6 G, 2 A, 8 points)- Martin leads the league in hits…… again. He is one of the best enforcers in the NHL and knows how to spark the team when they need some momentum. Grade: B-

Michael Grabner (4 G, 2 A, 6 points)- Grabner has six points in 12 games this season. He has come on pretty strong after missing most of the season with an injury. His best asset is his penalty kill, but with the speed he has, he is always dangerous. It would be unfair to grade him through only 12 games.

Defense
Johnny Boychuk (4 G, 18 A, 22 points)- Boychuk has been another great addition to the team. Johnny has one of the hardest shots in the league and is very dangerous on the power play. Did I mention he is also a +15? Grade: B+

Nick Leddy (7 G, 14 A, 21 points)- Boychuk’s defensive partner has also been a great add to the squad. With 7 goals this season he is a big help to the forwards. Him and Boychuk are a combined +25 this season, which is new for isles defensemen. Grade: B+

Thomas Hickey (2 G, 13 A, 15 points)- Thomas Hickey’s size is really starting to show. When him and Visnovsky are on the ice, they can’t win puck battles in the corner and allow the other team to works in their defensive zone. He is helping out offensively, but has to be stronger on the puck. Grade: C–

Lubomir Visnovsky (3 G, 8 A, 11 points)- Much like Hickey, his size also shows defensively. His 11 points in 29 games is good for a defensemen, but his first responsibility is defense and sometimes us fans question that. Grade: C

Travis Hamonic (3 G, 8 A, 11 points)- Hamonic goes up against top line forwards every night and is still an impressive +4. I would like for him to stay out of the box, but can’t complain much with his play. Grade: B

Calvin De Hann (1 G, 10 A, 11 points)- Calvin also pairs up with Hamonic to play against top tier forwards. This is a very tough task for the young d-man, but he holds his own and plays very steady defense. Grade: B-

Brian Strait (1 G 3 A 4 points)- The scapegoat of the islanders defense. Every time something goes wrong it is very easy for fans and the media to claim that it’s Strait’s fault. He is not great, but Capuano plays him way too much and that hurts him a lot. Grade: D+

Goalies
Jaroslav Halak (24-9-0)- Jaro has a 2.41 goals against average and a 91.0% save percentage. Halak has been shaky in his past couple of games, but this break may be what the doctor ordered. He has been a rock in goal for the isles this season overall. His 4 shutouts are also very impressive. Grade: A-

Jaroslav Halak and John Tavares have been a huge part of the Islanders success this season. (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jaroslav Halak and John Tavares have been a huge part of the Islanders success this season. (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Chad Johnson (6-5-0)- Johnson has a 3.38 goals against average and an 87.0% save percentage. Do I have to say anything? I understand he is the backup, but this is unacceptable. The team has lost faith in him and jaro cannot play every day. He needs to pick it up next start. Grade: F

Metropolitan Division 2014-15 Preview

October is upon us which means that we’re officially less than a week away from the start of the 2014-15 NHL Season. So before the season starts next Wednesday, I’ll give you a look at each of the 30 teams by division and then give you my predictions. So without further delay, let’s begin this year’s preview with the Metropolitan Division.

Carolina Hurricanes
With Jordan Staal out until at least December, the Hurricanes will have to rely on his brother Eric, who comes off of the least productive season since his rookie season, and Jeff Skinner. Carolina brought in new head coach Bill Peters as they undergo “a transition” to performing well once again. Cam Ward is still in net, and that’s great, but the Hurricanes are not expected to do much this season.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets traded for Scott Hartnell during the offseason and that should provide an immediate improvement on the offensive end. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will once again carry the team. Alexander Wennberg and Kerby Rychel are two young players that provide hope for the future. On the defensive end, Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski will man the blue line for a Blue Jackets team that hopes to return back to the playoffs.

 

New Jersey Devils
The Devils made some great offseason additions, bringing in Mike Cammalleri and Martin Havlat. Adding them to a forwards group that includes Jaromir Jagr, Travis Zajac and Patrick Elias turns the Devils into an intriguing team. The team said goodbye to the NHL’s all-time winningest goaltender Martin Brodeur at the end of this season. They’ll instead opt for Cory Schneider to become the full time starter in net and brought in Scott Clemmensen to be his backup. It’ll be interesting to see how the Devils compete with the rest of the division.
Mike Cammalleri will have a fresh start, as he joins the Devils (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty)

Mike Cammalleri will have a fresh start, as he joins the Devils (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty)

 

New York Islanders
This preview was scheduled to go up earlier this morning. However, there were rumblings  that Garth Snow was on the phone with a few teams and so I held off on it. The Islanders acquired Nick Leddy from Chicago and Johnny Boychuk from Boston this afternoon, changing the face of the team. Here’s the updated preview:

 

The Isles went out this offseason and brought in some great players. In free agency, the Islanders signed former Toronto Maple Leafs Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, who could possibly be paired on the second line. Grabovski may also be used on the number one power play line alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. On defense, the recent acquisitions of Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy prove that GM Garth Snow is playing to win now. They also have Griffin Reinhart and Calvin de Haan, providing hope for the future. In goal, the Islanders situation may have finally been settled. Jaroslav Halak will take over for Evgeni Nabokov, who signed with Tampa Bay. Former Boston Bruins net minder Chad Johnson was also brought in and will likely serve as Halak’s backup. For the first time in recent Islanders history, they’ll have two polished veteran goalies. The Islanders will be playing at Nassau Coliseum for the final season and the stakes are going to be high, so the Isles look to go out in style and reach the playoffs.

 

New York Rangers
The Rangers lost a bunch of key players this Summer including Brad Richards, Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot and Derek Dorsett. Their only major signing was 38 year old defenseman Dan Boyle. Henrik Lundqvist will still be great in net but it should be interesting to see how head coach Alain Vigneault makes his lines, especially after losing top center Derek Stepan to a fractured fibula.

 

Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers haven’t had much going for them since going to the Stanley Cup Finals a few seasons ago. They added Michael Del Zotto and R.J. Umberger. They also have Steve Mason in net and are hoping that he improve this season. They’ll struggle but it’ll be fun to watch the line of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins added Patric Hornqvist, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau and Christian Ehrhoff to an already deadly threat in the Eastern Conference. The power play is always fantastic and with a line like Malkin, Crosby and Hornqvist, I believe that it’ll be the best in the league this season.

 

Washington Capitals
New coach Barry Trotz is defensive minded and that should help the offensive powered Capitals. The additions of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen make for a crowded blue line in our nation’s capital. They’ll join John Carlson and Mike Green on defense. Calder trophy candidate Evgeny Kuznetsov should make a huge splash into the NHL and could see time on the power play with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

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