Today, we will conclude our season preview interview series by talking with BD Gallof. We would like to thank BD for taking the time to answer our questions 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?
BD: I've been blogging/writing about hockey for 6.5 years. I have written for CBS NY/WFAN, Huffington Post, HockeyIndependent, IslandersIndependent, and Hockeybuzz. I was one of the founding members of the NY Islanders Blog Box. We were the first sports bloggers given access in professional sports in an official capacity.
I am currently the Editor-in-Chief and Lead Designer of HOCK.ly which is a digital magazine meant to showcase the best bloggers and relevant content in the NHL.
Link to our latest issue: 2013-14 NHL Season Preview http://joom.ag/ERkX
STI: What are your thoughts on the summer moves made by the team?
BD: They were ok. It is really no different than last summer's moves. Just without the vet D trade. Team is trusting in Donovan or de Haan (as callup) are ready to make the jump.
STI: With Pierre Marc Bouchards history of injuries, do you think it is smart to likely give him such a prominent role with the team? (first line RW)
BD: Beggars can't be choosers. Isles went for skillset. Then know in case of injury, this give an opportunity to one of the VERY hungry kids who just went to Bridgeport. See where I am going here? Well, read the answer to the next question carefully and you get my drift.
STI: People have been talking about prospects making an impact this year, which prospect are you most excited to see?
BD: Unfortunately, people are talking too early. Prospects need to develop and get used to the NHL season if playing or called up. No different than how Casey Cizikas came up last year. Development to make: IMPACT in what fans tend to really stick onto.... well, that is another thing altogether. Look how Strome was sent down. He is a top 2 line type of player, but there is fierce competition there. Moulson, Tavares and PMB make the top line. Frans, Okposo and Bailey were very productive despite Okposo's point outage last season. All three are vet players not easily supplanted. Strome's shot is if there is injury to the top 2 lines. Then things get interesting. So if someone who is gotten as a free agent, but might have the injury bug... who is just wanted to come up and show his stuff?
Same goes for Donovan, who will be trying to get traction to playing regularly on the NHL level. Same goes for Brock Nelson who is moving to wing due to the Clutterbuck injury. Reinhart is most likely here for a 9 game "taster".
People need to stop talking about "impact" and talk about development/growth. This is what the Islanders are talking about and this is the key meter this year. Growth for these kids is paramount to reach anywhere near their potential. And when they start moving towards that potential? Well, that's when there is true IMPACT.
STI: Guys like Tavares and Moulson get most of the press around the team. Who is one guy that doesn’t get a lot of press that you think should?
BD: Travis Hamonic & also... (been saying this for over a year) Andy MacDonald. Both are anchors, though Hamonic seems to catch fans eyes more. Don't discount AMac. Team didn't, this is why he has the A.
STI: What is the biggest concern for you regarding the team coming into this season?
BD: My biggest concern is how the team handles itself not on a 48 game "sprint" like last season, but a full season marathon run. Teams like the Isles and the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to be tested on how they do in a long run now. What concerns me in this is the fact they have NO replacement for Mark Streit on assists, despite Visnovsky is capable. He is not a one for one replacement on that. The Isles did not address that, and their preseason power play wasn't exactly gangbusters.
Also on the same issue of the full season is the goalie situation. This team SCREAMS for a prospect to bloom and take the net and run. Yet Kevin Poulin hasn't seemed to come on at all. In fact, its almost that the team just thinks now he's a stopgap until Nillson develops enough to take over (next year, likely). So this is make or break for Poulin to shake off some sort of development wall.... OR we have seen his ceiling. His contract was no accident. This is it OR ....
STI: With all the talk of the Coliseum recently with Ratner being selected and with you being someone who has followed the process for a long time, what do you think will end up happening with the site?
BD: It will move forward due to this is ok with the Republicans. The Democrats chose not to grab onto the Coliseum as a wedge. I had spoken to a few high up and they backed off any rhetoric or using it in the Mangano campaign. So this means the Dems are likely also behind the effort. This should means smoother sailing.
STI: If you could make one bold prediction about this year’s Islanders, what would it be?
BD: Calvin de Haan comes up as one of the first call-ups for an injury and runs with the puck. He is the type of puck mover and power play guy they need. So look for him to get the call and rise, as long as his body can hold up.
STI: Of the three local teams, which do you think will have the best season?
BD: NY Rangers. Too much talent. They haven't addressed all their issues, BUT they have enough firepower and freedom now without Torts to at least produce.
STI: Regarding the Islanders, what are your expectations for them heading into this season? Could they make the playoffs again?
BD: I am severely concerned on if they can make the playoffs due to a few factors:
A: goalie age and inconsistent play. Plus Nabs also seemed to wear out post-season. He played a lot, but this is still a concern on the long grind of a double-size from last season.
B. Not enough power play firepower. Defense must derive assists and get puck to forwards in all situations, and that was what Streit WAS good at.
Those developing will only get better. Might be a rocky ride, but Isles should just get in. But if they miss, don't be surprised.