We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.
Today, we take a look at the New York Islanders.
By: Nick Richter (@PensNation_Nick)
2013 Season: 24-17-7 55 pts (3rd in Atlantic Division, 8th in Eastern Conference)
Free Agents Signed:
C/LW Peter Regin (Ott)
RW/LW Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Min)
RW/LW Cal Clutterbuck (Min)
C Chris Bruton (FA)
Free Agents Lost:
LW Brandon DeFazio (Van)
D Jon Landry (Min)
LW/C Matt Watkins (Wsh)
LW/RW Jesse Joensuu (Edm)
C Keith Aucoin (Stl)
RW Brad Boyes
RW/LW Nino Niederreiter to Minnesota for Cal Clutterbuck.
D Mark Streit to Philadelphia.
C Ryan Strome
D Griffin Reinhart
G Anders Nilsson
RW Krill Kabanov
D Matt Donovan
John Tavares is excited to move his belongings to Brooklyn soon.Photo Credit: msn.foxsports.com
The New York Islanders made great strides last season, making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The Isles ended the 2012-13 season as one of the best offenses in the NHL and finished 8th in the league with 139 goals. However, defensively they finished near the bottom of the league (20th), giving up 139 goals.
New York did little to improve their blue line this offseason. They actually might have taken a step backwards as they traded their best defenseman, Mark Streit, to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for prospect right winger Shane Harper and a fourth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard is hoping to replace what the Islanders lost offensively when they decided to not re-sign Brad Boyes. Bouchard’s former Minnesota Wild teammate, Cal Clutterbuck also joins the Isles and will likely be a thorn in the side of the entire Metropolitan Division. Clutterbuck will have to wait until he returns from a skate laceration injury that will sideline him for four-to-six weeks.
The Islanders might have to rely on one of their young, unproven goaltenders to help carry the load in net with Evgeni Nabokov. Anders Nilsson is their goalie of the future but he is still a couple of years away from becoming a starting goaltender in the NHL. New York has a couple of other youngsters who have a chance at cracking the roster this season. Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson both have a ton of upside and will likely be called upon to contribute sometime this season.
Strome had two goals and five assists with Bridgeport after he turned pro last season and has a chance to play in place of the injured Clutterbuck. Nelson had 25 goals and 27 assists for AHL-Bridgeport last season, but is transitioning from playing center to becoming a winger.
It’s safe to say that trading Streit is likely the Islanders biggest loss. New York has done next-to-nothing in helping bolster their blue line this offseason. The losses of Keith Aucoin and Boyes will also be felt. Aucoin was one of the team’s best faceoff artists and Boyes found his scoring ways again last season for New York.
Overall, the Islanders will have to lean heavily on newly named captain, John Tavares if they plan on closing out the Nassau Coliseum with on a positive note. Tavares has solidified himself as one of the elite players in the league and was in the running for the NHL MVP last season, but the Isles will have an up-hill battle to prove they were not just a “flash in the pan” last season.