Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 10/20/14
With less than a month left in the NHL season, the New York Islanders will try to sneak into the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The Isles, who seem to always be in a rebuilding mode, are making a late season run at the Stanley Cup playoffs and have won five out of their last six games. Currently the Isles have nine players on their active roster that they’ve drafted since that year. The most notable is John Tavares. Tavares has exploded for 23 goals in 37 games, good enough for 2nd in the league. Photo Credit: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton The Islanders have always been a dreaded destination for veteran players but recently the tide has turned. Evgeni Nabokov, who was claimed off waivers back in January 2011, has become a key piece in the Islanders’ success. Nabokov, who did not want to report to Uniondale after the waiver claim, has since said that he enjoys Long Island and wants to sign a contract extension. The 37-year-old goaltender has 17 wins in 31 games this year. At the June draft the Islanders acquired veteran defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, a solid acquisition. He too had reservations about playing for the Islanders but has done a complete turnaround and last week signed a two-year extension with the team. As the NHL trade deadline approaches, many teams have inquired about defenseman Mark Streit. The 35-year-old Isles captain has been dubbed a “powerplay maestro.” However, he has been shooting less, something that has made him stand out when he was first acquired as a free agent in 2008. Contract extension talks have broken down and TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted Tuesday morning: Mark Streit is unlikely to agree to extension with NYI. Isles may keep him for playoff race, but unless there’s change, Streit will be a UFA If the Islanders can get a good prospect and a 1st or 2nd round draft pick, I’d deal Streit. We’ll see what the Islanders ultimately decide to do today. The kid I’ll be watching is rookie and former Notre Dame Captain Andres Lee. Tuesday, Lee scored his first NHL goal on his first shot last night, something that has only been done by three other NHL players. If Lee plays the rest of the season the way he played Tuesday night, he’ll become a fan favorite very quickly. The Islanders this season are 11-5-1 in away games this season. That’s good news for the Isles, as seven of their final 11 games are on the road. Unfortunately, they have been struggling at home and are a disappointing 7-11-2. The Islanders, who are now tied with the Devils for the seventh playoff spot, will play six of their final 11 games against teams who are currently below .500. I think that the Islanders can ultimately make a run into the Stanley Cup Playoffs as high as a seventh seed. Based on the current standings that would match them up against the Montreal Canadiens. The Islanders won the season series against the Habs 2-1, so it could make for an interesting playoff series that could go seven games. While I would love to watch the Isles knock off Montreal, I don’t see it happening. But I believe that the Islanders are back, and with a young core built, and a very deep group of prospects on the way, they should be in the playoffs for years to come. -Malamud
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