As part of our season preview interview series, our next one is with Christian Imperato from newyorkislandersadrift.blogspot.com. We would like to thank Christian for taking the time to talk with us and you can follow him on twitter here.
STI: Could you give some background on yourself for those that may not be familiar with you?
CI: I have been a die-hard Islander fan for all 28 years of my life. I started a blog on the Islanders area issues a few years back. The reason why I started the blog was due to the frustration I felt (I’m sure all Islander fans felt it) when the referendum failed and all the miss information was out there.
STI: What were your thoughts on the Islanders draft this year? Who would you consider to be a sleeper pick in this year’s class?
CI: My initial thought was how great it was that the draft wasn’t our highlight for once. When it comes evaluating the draft I will leave that to others, since I thought Mikko Koskinen was our goalie of the future.
STI: Between Matt Donovan and Brock Nelson, who do you expect to have a bigger impact on the team this season? Why?
CI: Between these two choices I would go with Matt Donovan. I think it will be easier for Donovan to make the team, since we have more openings for defensemen and the Islanders’ forward positions are pretty well filled.
STI: Do you think Kevin Poulin will win the backup goalie job out of camp? Or do you think Nilsson will surprise some and steal the job from him?
CI: With all the health issues Nilsson suffered last season sometime in the AHL to get his rhythm wouldn’t hurt, so I will give Poulin the edge. Honestly, I would love if Poulin cemented himself as the Islanders goalie this season, but he has a lot to prove for that to happen this season.
STI: What are your thoughts on the Islanders off season?
CI: I give Garth credit for staying with his blueprint. I think a lot of fans (including myself) wanted to see the Islanders be very active after how competitive we were during the playoffs. However, Garth has a vision for this team and he didn’t steer away from it after last season's success.
STI: With the realigned divisions, do you think they did enough to qualify for the playoffs for a second season in a row?
CI: I think the Islanders will be fighting for one of the last few playoff spots again this season. I believe that we have enough talent and that the playoff push last season will help us secure one of these spots. I’m even hopeful that we will win our first playoff series in twenty seasons this year.
STI: Being someone who has followed the arena situation closer than the average person, what do you think will end up happening with the Nassau Coliseum property?
CI: I can see the Nassau Coliseum becoming the home for the Islanders’ and Nets’ minor league teams. This will allow for the Islanders to keep in the touch with their birthplace and the heart of their fan base. In addition, this will allow the Nets to grow their brand and fan base eastward on the Island. Another benefit remodeling the Coliseum will have for Long Islanders is that they will still have a venue of their own to see concerts and family shows. After the failure of the Lighthouse project and referendum this is probably the best result that people could have asked for. The team stays local and somewhat connected to Nassau, and Nassau residents still have a venue to enjoy concerts, family shows, and sporting events.