photo by ESPN
1) Travis Hamonic
Hamonic is a huge key for the Islanders this year. With all the question marks surrounding their defense heading into the season, continued progression from Hamonic will go a long way in helping the team qualify for a playoff spot this season.
2) Lubomir Visnovsky
Assuming he stays healthy, I think these are realistic numbers for Visnovsky. He isn't the offensive powerhouse he once was. However, he is still one of the more elite offensive defensemen in the league.
3) Calvin de Haan
Much like Hamonic, the continued maturation of de Haan after a solid rookie season is vital for the Islanders this year. If de Haan can develop into the top-4 dman the Islanders hope he can be and can stay on the ice it will be a tremendous help to the team this year.
photo by zimbio
4) Thomas Hickey
After ending the year as the teams most potent offensive threat from the blueline, I could see Hickey putting up relatively similar numbers to those that he had last season.
5) Griffin Reinhart
Yes, I think Reinhart will be on the team to open camp. As a matter of fact, baring injury I would be stunned if he isn't. Offense really isn't his game, however if he can play a steady 15 minutes a night and chip in here and there offensively that will be a very successful rookie season for him in my eyes.
6) TJ Brennan
As of now I am putting Brennan here, but he could easily not make the starting lineup and be replaced by someone else. Brennan was unbelievable in the AHL last year, however, we know as well as anyone that some people have trouble transitioning their games from the AHL to the NHL. I think Brennan will run into that and thus not be the huge offensive powerhouse that some may think.
Guys who could see time:
photo by Newsday
1) Brian Strait
Strait isn't noted for his offense, but will see his fair share of time this year. Especially if Reinhart or Brennan struggle. Assuming he stays healthy which has been tough for him in his career to this point he could provide a steadying presence for the Islanders on the bottom pairing.
2) Matt Donovan
Much like Strait, I could see Donovan getting extended time with the big club if Reinhart or Brennan struggle at all. After struggling at the start of last year and being sent down, Donovan showed noticeable improvement down the stretch last year and could be a solid depth option for the Islanders on the back end this year.
3) Matt Carkner
Unless there is an injury, I could see Carkners time being very limited this year. He is the Eric Boulton of the defense. While he does have some decent stretches here and there, they don't cancel out the amount of missteps on the ice he has which are more often then not.
4) Ryan Pulock
If there are any injury callups from Bridgeport Pulock will likely be the first one. Having Pulock and Reinhart in the lineup together will give fans a taste of the future.