Friday, July 19, 2013

Savetheisles Chats With WFAN'S Daniel Friedman

Below is a chat I had recently with WFAN columnist Daniel Friedman.  We would like to thank Dan for taking the time to answer our questions.  You can follow Dan on twitter by clicking here.

STI-Could you give some background on yourself for those that aren't familiar with you?

DF-Sure. I cover the Islanders for WFAN and have been following the team since I was six years-old (17 years). I’ve also interned for Stan Fischler and written for Bleacher Report and The Hockey Writers. I grew up around hockey and would like to think I know a thing or two about it.

STI-How would you grade the Islanders draft? Is there a sleeper in this years class people should keep an eye on?
DF-I thought the Islanders did well at the draft. They took Ryan Pulock, who should morph into their future power play quarterback. Then they brought in some quality talent and did that despite not having a second round-pick.
I would look out for Victor Crus Rydberg (fifth round). He has very good hands and is positionally-sound. I’d compare him to Frans Nielsen.
STI-What did you think of the moves on July 5th? Do you feel Snow has improved the team since the OT loss to the Penguins that ended our season?
DF-I’d be lying to you if I said there wasn’t anything I would’ve done differently. That said -- yes, I do feel this team is better (on paper, at least) now than it was in April.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard is absolutely an upgrade over Brad Boyes if he can stay healthy and, assuming Ryan Strome and/or Brock Nelson make the team out of training camp, the offense is going to be better than it was last year. That’s what gives this year’s team an edge over last year’s.
The loss of Mark Streit is a tough one, and players like Lubomir Visnovsky, Thomas Hickey and Andrew MacDonald will have to step up offensively in his absence, but they’re equipped to do so.
Evgeni Nabokov was re-signed, as was Kevin Poulin. I think that if Poulin can take some more starts and give Nabby some more rest, this tandem can get the job done. I don’t think the Islanders are finished in terms of exploring future options on the goaltending front, but at least for right now, what you see is what you’re going to have.
STI-Being that the team is over the cap floor already and hasn't really shown a tendency to go way over that, do you think our team as presently constructed is more or less the team we will see on opening night?
DF-Yes, I do. Jack Capuano said that Garth Snow is still considering a few other possibilities on offense, so we could see them make another move. Other than that, not much else is going to change.
STI-Did you like the move for Cal Clutterbuck? Do you feel like the draft pick of Nino is a blemish on Garth Snows record?
DF-I did like the trade. Clutterbuck is the kind of character, gritty player that all teams need to be successful. There are 29 other coaches who would be glad to have someone like Cal on their roster and Capuano is fortunate to. Clutterbuck is a proven commodity and fits right in; Nino is an enigma.
As for whether or not he’s a blemish on Snow’s record; it’s tough to say. I don’t think most scouts would’ve seen this coming on draft night, so to say that Snow’s mistake was in failing to avoid this eventual predicament would be unfair. His mistake was in passing over Cam Fowler, who I think will develop into the type of defenseman that could’ve been an anchor on the Isles’ blue line for years to come. It’s important to note that Snow also picked Brock Nelson in that same first round. If Nelson pans out, I think you have to give Snow a bit of a pass.
STI-If the season started tomorrow, what would your expectations be?
DF-I’d expect them to contend for a playoff spot all year and clinch the seventh or eighth-seed.
STi-Fast forwarding a little bit, do you think the way this team does business will change with the move to Brooklyn? Or do you think they will still be a team that operates at the cap floor?
DF-I do think it’ll change, but that really depends on how much progress is made on the ice. The new arena will help but players won’t want to come to a team that isn’t winning. The Isles should be a perennial playoff contender by then, so I don’t expect that to be an issue.
You can find a link to Friedmans most recent WFAN column below:

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