Saturday, September 26, 2015

Projections: Top 6 Forwards

With the season right around the corner, we are going to start doing some stat projections for the forwards, defensemen, and goalies we expect to see with the Islanders this season.  Today we will start with the top 6 forwards (in no particular order):

photo by ESPN

1) John Tavares

40 goals

55 assists

95 points

Tavares was so close to winning the scoring title last year and I think he will be in the race once again this season.  If early pre season is any indication, having Anders Lee on his left wing for a full season could help boost those assist totals which could prove to be key for the individual achievement.

2) Kyle Okposo

35 goals

45 assists

80 points

Okposo might be the most talked about Islander this season behind Tavares of course.  Being a UFA after the season, Okposo will want to up his game to try and earn the most money possible.  However, he might need to work extra hard as he could be separated from John Tavares giving other players a chance in that spot such as Ryan Strome.

3) Ryan Strome

20 goals

35 assists

55 points

I expect Strome to continue his maturation in his second full season in the NHL.  Playing with John Tavares at all will definitely help Strome achieve these numbers.  Strome will be a player to watch this season.

photo by NHLPA

4) Anders Lee

35 goals

20 assists

55 points

Another player to watch is definitely Anders Lee.  If the pre season is any indication he will be the first one given a chance on the magical left wing of John Tavares.  If he is able to maintain that role he should have little trouble hitting 35 goals after hitting 25 in his rookie season last year.

5) Brock Nelson

30 goals

25 assists

55 points

Like Lee, I am expecting big things from Nelson as well.  If he hadn't disappeared for many months last season, Nelson would've hit the 30 goal plateau pretty easily.  If he is able to stay consistent this season I see no reason why he won't achieve that milestone for the first time in his young career.

6) Josh Bailey

20 goals

30 assists

50 points

After setting a career high in goals and points last season, I can see Bailey building on that and setting new career highs again this season.  That is of course largely depending on who he plays with for a majority of the season.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Isles Sign Zidlicky

Earlier tonight, it was announced that the Islanders had signed vet defensemen Marek Zidlicky to a 1 year deal worth 1.5 million dollars.
The Islanders had been linked to Zidlicky on and off for a few weeks now.  With Zidlicky having played in Jersey, and the Islanders saying goodbye to Lubomir Visnovky this off-season Zidlicky was a pretty good fit.  The salary flexibility created by the Michael Grabner trade earlier this week allowed this move to happen.

Bringing in Zidlicky takes some pressure off the likes of Scott Mayfield and Ryan Pulock who had been previously been counted on to have potentially big roles with this team in the upcoming season.

Adding Zidlicky who got most of his points on the power play last season to a power play that already includes Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, and Travis Hamonic has the makings for something special.  Doug Weight should be kept plenty busy creating plays with those guys on the point for his huge book of plays.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Isles Trade Grabner To Leafs

Earlier today, it was announced that the Islanders traded forward Michael Grabner to the Maple Leafs for a package of prospects.  It had long been expected that the Islanders would trade Grabner, however, it started to look like Grabner would be on the team to start in Brooklyn.  In return for Grabner the Islanders acquired Matt Finn, Tom Nilsson, Taylor Beck, Christopher Gibson, and Carter Verhaeghe.
The most promising players in the deal, according to reports are Matt Finn and Carter Verhaeghe.

Finn, a 2012 second round pick is still only 20 years of age.  He turned pro last season and had struggles expected for a young player especially on defense.

The other player worth talking about in the deal is Carter Verhaeghe.  Verhaeghe already has some familiarity with the Isles organization having played with Josh Ho Sang in juniors.  Coming off back to back 82 point seasons in juniors Verhaeghe is set to take his play to Bridgeport this season.

While the Islanders didn't acquire a start prospect in this deal you shouldn't have expected that in return for Grabner.  With the quantity the Islanders got in this deal I feel they did very well given Grabners injury history.  Also, they created some flexibility moving out Grabners 3 million cap hit/5 million salary.

Isles Sign Nelson To 3 Year Deal

Last night, the Islanders announced that they signed Brock Nelson to a 3 year deal worth 7.5 million dollars.  This deal came in just hours before the Islanders self imposed 7am deadline this morning.  As has been talked about over and over again the Islanders have a team policy if you are not signed by training camp then you have to sit out the season.

The breakdown of Nelsons contract is like this, he will make 1.5 million this season, 2.5 million next season, then 3.5 million the year after that.

If Nelson is able to build on his first half from last year and put it together this will end up being another steal of a contract for the Islanders.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Isles, Nelson Haven't Talked in 6 Weeks

photo by Zimbio

With training camp right around the corner, everyone is excited for the season to get up and running again.  The one anxiety among Islander fans though is the uncertain fate of young forward Brock Nelson who is still unsigned.

Nelson who is a restricted free agent rejected the Islanders qualifying offer months ago and still has yet to come to an agreement with the team on a new contract.  The reason this is causing anxiety is because Islanders owner Charles Wang has a policy that if you are not signed by the start of training camp that you can't play the season for the Islanders.  This happened to Sean Bergenheim a long time ago and he ended up having to spend the season over seas.

With camp being so close, you would think the Islanders and Brock Nelsons camp would be in constant communication with each other to make sure Nelson doesn't have to sit out the season.  Well, you would be incorrect with that, according to Newsday.  Brock Nelsons agent told Newsday that they haven't spoken with the team in 6 weeks.  He said that they made Nelson a two year contract offer six weeks ago that Nelsons camp felt was unacceptable and there has been no dialogue since.

While I understand Nelsons camp case here, they don't really have much leverage.  They should take a page from Anders Lees book and take a one year deal and then look for the well paid long term deal next summer.  The strategy paid off for Lee, so it could easily pay off for his on and off again linemate as well.