Saturday, October 10, 2015

Do the Islanders and Nets Play in The Same Arena?

Last night was not my first time at Barclays Center like it was for some.  I have been fortunate to attend both pre season games the Islanders played there against the Devils.  Additionally, I have been able to attend two Nets games as well.  Each time I went to the arena I never had any major complaints at all and was in fact impressed with a lot of things.  That was until last night.  Last night I felt as though I was in a different arena that I had been in the previous times I had been there.  Here are some of the issues I noticed:

  • Concession lines upstairs were worse then the Coliseum in both length and length of wait.
  • The overall size of the concourse is tight when packed as well.
  • Furthering with the concession stands, they raised the beer prices even more as if they weren't already high enough.  The one particular stand I went to would only serve certain draft beer in certain cups which is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.  This inconvenience played a major role in the extreme wait I had.
  • Bathroom lines were also huge compared to the other times I had been there.
  • Some are being critical of fans who booed Brooklyn related items including but not limited to Brett Yormark being shown on the big screen.  Specifically with Yormark, that is something he brought on himself with his ill thought out comments on the Michael Kay Show in the wake of the goal horn saga and it wouldn't surprise me if the boos continue for a while.
Following my issues with the concession stand, I ran into an Islanders employee who while he was nice made some pretty ridiculous and far fetched excuses for the issues I had.  One of them was that they had to adjust to the Long Island crowd as if Net fans only come from NYC and NJ and the Islanders had never played pre season games here before.  With regard to the bathroom lines, he said they weren't as bad as the Coliseum.  Being in a brand new state of the art arena I would hope lines would be better then the 43 year old Coliseum.

So now I ask, was the arena last night the same place the Islanders played two pre season games and I saw two Net games?  It surely didn't feel like it was and for the people at be hopefully that changes.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Projections: Goalie

We conclude by looking in between the pipes at goalie:

photo by ESPN

1) Jaroslav Halak

37 wins

18 losses


While he is a little shaken up to start the season, I think Halak will be just fine and prove to be a steady backstop for the Islanders like he was last season.

2) Thomas Greiss

9 wins

7 losses


After having the backups struggle for a majority of last season, I think the Islanders found the right fit with Greiss.  He will prove to be the perfect backup for the Islanders and will be able to handle a little extended time should Halak show he isn't 100%.

3) JF Berube

2 wins

2 losses


After being one of the better goalies in the AHL in the last few years I think Berube will show the Islanders he was worthy of their waiver claim in a cup of coffee with the team throughout the season.

Projections: Defensemen

Today, we will continue by looking at the top 6 defensemen:

photo by zimbio

1) Johnny Boychuk

10 goals

30 assists

40 points

If he can stay healthy, these numbers should easily be achievable for Boychuk in his second season with the Islanders.

2) Nick Leddy

13 goals

35 assists

48 points

Leddy is an interesting case to watch this season.  Where as Boychuk is in his prime already, Leddy is still only 24 so it is a bit of a mystery as to exactly how good he can be.  After setting a career high in goals last year, and tying his career high in points I fully expect his game to continue to mature playing alongside Boychuk.

photo by ESPN

3) Travis Hamonic

5 goals

30 assists

35 points

Last year was a bit of a breakout offensive season for Hamonic setting a career high in goals, assists, and points.  While he won't have the offensive production of Leddy, I think he will continue to settle in as a rock on the Islanders blue line that we all hope he will become.

4) Calvin De Haan

2 goals

13 assists

15 points

This is a big year for De Haan!  After struggling last year, he needs to grow past that or he might find his time in the lineup limited to say the least.

5) Marek Zidlicky

6 goals

25 assists

31 points

16 PPP

Zidlicky wasn't acquired by the Islanders for his stellar play at even strength.  Although he is 39 now, Zidlicky is still very valuable on the power play where he put up 20 points last season split between the Devils and the Red Wings.  I see no reason why as long as he remains in the lineup he won't put up similar production this year.

6) Thomas Hickey

3 goals

19 assists

22 points

I feel like Hickey is in a similar boat to De Haan.  While Hickey didn't struggle nearly as much as De Haan did last year, if Hickey can't keep his play at an acceptable rate he might find himself in the press box before long.

Guys Who Could See Time:

1) Brian Strait

0 goals

4 assists

4 points

Much to the chagrin of most Islander fans, Brian Strait is still with the team heading into the season.  Due to an injury to Thomas Hickey, he will likely be in the opening night lineup which I am sure will be well received by the faithful at Barclays Center.

photo by zimbio

2) Ryan Pulock

4 goals

3 assists

7 points

Pulock is an interesting guy to watch this season.  Having broke camp with the team but starting the season as a likely scratch is a little surprising to me.  When he is eventually given a chance I fully expect him to run with it and not look back.

3) Scott Mayfield

1 goal

3 assists

4 points

After impressing in his brief playoff stint last year, I would suspect that it won't be terribly long before we see Mayfield in some way or another at this level.  His edge, combined with offensive ability would be a welcomed addition to the lineup.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Projections: Bottom 6 Forwards

Today, we will continue our pre season projections with the bottom six forwards. (in no particular order)

1) Frans Nielsen

15 goals

35 assists

50 points

Going into his contract year, I could see Nielsen putting up solid numbers assuming he is able to stay healthy.  It is a wonder if this will be Nielsens final season in the orange and blue.

2) Mikhail Grabovski

20 goals

30 assists

50 points

If he is able to stay healthy, these should be very realistic numbers for Grabo who just never was able to consistently stay on the ice last season.  If he has another injury plagued season, his rich contract could prove to be a cause of concern for the Islanders.

3) Nikolay Kulemin

15 goals

20 assists

35 points

We are now getting to the players who depend more on finesse than skill and Kulemin quickly became a fan favorite in his first year with the Islanders last year in part due to his tenacious work ethic on the ice.  I expect more of the same from him this season in the teams first year in Brooklyn.

photo by ESPN

4) Matt Martin

9 goals

6 assists

15 points

120 PIMS

14 points has been a difficult point total for Martin to eclipse to this point in his NHL career.  In every season he has played in except one Martin has ended the season with 14 points.  While he might not go past the point total with flying colors, I fully expect him to resume his role on the best fourth line in hockey like nothing ever changed.

5) Casey Cizikas

10 goals

10 assists

20 points'

After setting a career high in goals last year, I expect more of the same from Cizikas again this year as he matures into a regular NHL player for years to come.

6) Cal Clutterbuck

10 goals

10 assists

20 points

While Clutterbuck may not put up the stats that he did in Minnesota it is because his role has changed since being acquired by the Islanders.  He has more of a checking role with the Islanders and one that he performs superbly I might add as the third member of the best fourth line in hockey.  I expect this line to pick up right where it left off last season.

Guys who could see time:

1) Eric Boulton

While Boulton could end up skating a game or two up here this season it won't be to make a difference on the scoreboard.

2) Steve Bernier

8 goals

5 assists

13 points

Bernier was an interesting signing for the Islanders late in the off-season after the trade of Michael Grabner to the Leafs.  After putting up a career high in goals for the Devils last season, I expect Bernier to see limited time with the Islanders this year because of their extraordinary depth up front.  When he does make it in the lineup though I expect him to be productive.

photo by zimbio

3) Kirill Petrov

3 goals

5 assists

8 points

One of the more talked about guys of the pre season, I don't expect that talk to stop when the season starts when it comes to Petrov.  After 8 years, Petrov has impressed more then a few people in his first Islanders training camp.  If he has been impressive enough to make the team out of camp we shall find out soon enough.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Projections: Top 6 Forwards

With the season right around the corner, we are going to start doing some stat projections for the forwards, defensemen, and goalies we expect to see with the Islanders this season.  Today we will start with the top 6 forwards (in no particular order):

photo by ESPN

1) John Tavares

40 goals

55 assists

95 points

Tavares was so close to winning the scoring title last year and I think he will be in the race once again this season.  If early pre season is any indication, having Anders Lee on his left wing for a full season could help boost those assist totals which could prove to be key for the individual achievement.

2) Kyle Okposo

35 goals

45 assists

80 points

Okposo might be the most talked about Islander this season behind Tavares of course.  Being a UFA after the season, Okposo will want to up his game to try and earn the most money possible.  However, he might need to work extra hard as he could be separated from John Tavares giving other players a chance in that spot such as Ryan Strome.

3) Ryan Strome

20 goals

35 assists

55 points

I expect Strome to continue his maturation in his second full season in the NHL.  Playing with John Tavares at all will definitely help Strome achieve these numbers.  Strome will be a player to watch this season.

photo by NHLPA

4) Anders Lee

35 goals

20 assists

55 points

Another player to watch is definitely Anders Lee.  If the pre season is any indication he will be the first one given a chance on the magical left wing of John Tavares.  If he is able to maintain that role he should have little trouble hitting 35 goals after hitting 25 in his rookie season last year.

5) Brock Nelson

30 goals

25 assists

55 points

Like Lee, I am expecting big things from Nelson as well.  If he hadn't disappeared for many months last season, Nelson would've hit the 30 goal plateau pretty easily.  If he is able to stay consistent this season I see no reason why he won't achieve that milestone for the first time in his young career.

6) Josh Bailey

20 goals

30 assists

50 points

After setting a career high in goals and points last season, I can see Bailey building on that and setting new career highs again this season.  That is of course largely depending on who he plays with for a majority of the season.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Isles Sign Zidlicky

Earlier tonight, it was announced that the Islanders had signed vet defensemen Marek Zidlicky to a 1 year deal worth 1.5 million dollars.
The Islanders had been linked to Zidlicky on and off for a few weeks now.  With Zidlicky having played in Jersey, and the Islanders saying goodbye to Lubomir Visnovky this off-season Zidlicky was a pretty good fit.  The salary flexibility created by the Michael Grabner trade earlier this week allowed this move to happen.

Bringing in Zidlicky takes some pressure off the likes of Scott Mayfield and Ryan Pulock who had been previously been counted on to have potentially big roles with this team in the upcoming season.

Adding Zidlicky who got most of his points on the power play last season to a power play that already includes Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, and Travis Hamonic has the makings for something special.  Doug Weight should be kept plenty busy creating plays with those guys on the point for his huge book of plays.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Isles Trade Grabner To Leafs

Earlier today, it was announced that the Islanders traded forward Michael Grabner to the Maple Leafs for a package of prospects.  It had long been expected that the Islanders would trade Grabner, however, it started to look like Grabner would be on the team to start in Brooklyn.  In return for Grabner the Islanders acquired Matt Finn, Tom Nilsson, Taylor Beck, Christopher Gibson, and Carter Verhaeghe.
The most promising players in the deal, according to reports are Matt Finn and Carter Verhaeghe.

Finn, a 2012 second round pick is still only 20 years of age.  He turned pro last season and had struggles expected for a young player especially on defense.

The other player worth talking about in the deal is Carter Verhaeghe.  Verhaeghe already has some familiarity with the Isles organization having played with Josh Ho Sang in juniors.  Coming off back to back 82 point seasons in juniors Verhaeghe is set to take his play to Bridgeport this season.

While the Islanders didn't acquire a start prospect in this deal you shouldn't have expected that in return for Grabner.  With the quantity the Islanders got in this deal I feel they did very well given Grabners injury history.  Also, they created some flexibility moving out Grabners 3 million cap hit/5 million salary.