In our next season preview interview, we had the chance to talk with Dan Petriw from hockeybuzz.com. We would like to thank Dan very much for taking the time to answer our questions. If you don't follow Dan on twitter yet, you can follow him here.
STI: For those who might not be familiar with you, could you give a little background information about yourself?
DP: I have been in the media industry since 2000 and have pretty much done it all. I am an alumni of Quinnipiac University where I really learned how TV, print and radio all work. I have worked at WTNH Channel 8 in New Haven Ct and also I spent 13 years at ESPN. I currently write for hockey buzz where I am an Islanders writer and I also freelance direct at the MLB Network. I have a passion for all things hockey and I'm also a huge fan of the Barclays Premier League. The Islanders and Arsenal are really the only two teams that can make me cry tears of joy or conjure up fits of rage.
STI: Going into the season, everyone will be and are talking about guys like Tavares and Halak as keys to the Islanders season. Who do you think is someone who is coming in a bit under the radar that will prove to be a key for the Islanders this year?
DP: I think Brock Nelson is going to have a big year. I think he is the leader out of the gate to win that wing slot alongside Tavares and Okposo. In limited time last season, Nelson did not look out of place playing with the big boys. I also think, the combo of Nelson's size, skill and willingness to get his nose dirty will yield some solid results this season.
I also expect Calvin de Haan to build off a strong rookie campaign. He is a key for this team. If he proves that he can continue to handle top pairing minutes I fully expect that this defense will be much better off. I also expect for de Haan to get out on the power play more and I think it is reasonable that we can see a jump in production from Calvin this season.
STI: Josh Bailey is someone who often comes up as a talking point among fans in Islanders Country. What are your thoughts on him? Do you think this will be the year he figures it out, or is it time for Bailey to move on?
DP: I have wrote about Bailey so much at this point I honestly don't know what the answer is. I also don't know what his role on this team is if he is in training camp. He is not a top six forward at this point and placing him on the fourth line is pointless as well. I guess as of right now he would be penciled in on the third line. I would, however, try to move him before the season starts if it could return a capable defenseman.
Bailey has not shown me any semblance of consistency that makes me feel confident that he will be a productive player for the Islanders. Every time I think about Bailey's future, I come away with more questions than answers.
STI: Another popular player to talk about for different reasons is defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart. Most fans are expecting him to make the team out of camp this year. What do you feel are realistic expectations for him heading into the season?
DP: I am actually not as high on Reinhart as many others are. I'm just not sold on his upside. I think he can be a capable stay at home dman in the league but he does need to improve his skating. If he can find anyway to develop an average offensive game I think Griff will be fine.
I just don't know how to project Reinhart at this point. Is he Adam Foote? Is he Brendan Witt? Is he Mark Eaton? It is honestly to early to tell. As for making the team, there are roster spots open on the blue line. If Reinhart has a solid camp I think he will have a great chance to grab one of those spots.
STI: Switching to off-ice topics, what was your reaction when you learned of the sale news last month? What kind of effect do you think it will have on the team both in the short term and long term?
DP: I am pleased that the sale of the Islanders is occurring, It was time and honestly long overdue. Much like I am willing to give anyone with a goalie glove a chance to tend net for the Isles, I am willing to give any new owner a chance.
Over the short term this will give Wang a chance to recoup a large part of the money that he has lost over his term owning the team. Once he moves into the background I think you will see these owners want to leave their mark on the team so if the team is still under performing I would expect to see a new coach staff, general manager and perhaps they add a team president. I think the biggest thing the sale brings is some closure on the perception that the team is run like a circus and it should provide some much needed stability at the top.
STI: With this year being the last season at the Coliseum do you have a favorite moment or memory, or multiple ones of each that stick out from your time in the arena?
DP: I think back to all the great times I had their win or lose. I have made some great friends in my years going to the games and I am grateful for my time spent their. I will miss Nassau but it is time for a new chapter for this organization. While not perfect, I think Brooklyn will be profitable. If the team is making money and fielding a great product on the ice I think everyone will get over the move.
As for one moment that I personally saw. I'd have to say when I went to game three of the playoff series against the Penguins. That was the loudest building I have ever been in. Despite the outcome of the game, it was one of my most enjoyable experiences at a sporting event.