Today, we will continue our pre season projections with the bottom six forwards. (in no particular order)
1) Frans Nielsen
Going into his contract year, I could see Nielsen putting up solid numbers assuming he is able to stay healthy. It is a wonder if this will be Nielsens final season in the orange and blue.
2) Mikhail Grabovski
If he is able to stay healthy, these should be very realistic numbers for Grabo who just never was able to consistently stay on the ice last season. If he has another injury plagued season, his rich contract could prove to be a cause of concern for the Islanders.
3) Nikolay Kulemin
We are now getting to the players who depend more on finesse than skill and Kulemin quickly became a fan favorite in his first year with the Islanders last year in part due to his tenacious work ethic on the ice. I expect more of the same from him this season in the teams first year in Brooklyn.
photo by ESPN
4) Matt Martin
14 points has been a difficult point total for Martin to eclipse to this point in his NHL career. In every season he has played in except one Martin has ended the season with 14 points. While he might not go past the point total with flying colors, I fully expect him to resume his role on the best fourth line in hockey like nothing ever changed.
5) Casey Cizikas
After setting a career high in goals last year, I expect more of the same from Cizikas again this year as he matures into a regular NHL player for years to come.
6) Cal Clutterbuck
While Clutterbuck may not put up the stats that he did in Minnesota it is because his role has changed since being acquired by the Islanders. He has more of a checking role with the Islanders and one that he performs superbly I might add as the third member of the best fourth line in hockey. I expect this line to pick up right where it left off last season.
Guys who could see time:
1) Eric Boulton
While Boulton could end up skating a game or two up here this season it won't be to make a difference on the scoreboard.
2) Steve Bernier
Bernier was an interesting signing for the Islanders late in the off-season after the trade of Michael Grabner to the Leafs. After putting up a career high in goals for the Devils last season, I expect Bernier to see limited time with the Islanders this year because of their extraordinary depth up front. When he does make it in the lineup though I expect him to be productive.
photo by zimbio
3) Kirill Petrov
One of the more talked about guys of the pre season, I don't expect that talk to stop when the season starts when it comes to Petrov. After 8 years, Petrov has impressed more then a few people in his first Islanders training camp. If he has been impressive enough to make the team out of camp we shall find out soon enough.