2011-2012 Islanders Season Preview

Captain Mark Streit and John Tavares look to lead the Islanders to their first playoff birth since the 2006-2007 Season

Hockey is back! Have to admit, it feels like the Bruins raised the Cup yesterday. You gotta love the short off-season. This is a very promising year for the New York Islanders. With all of the young yet experienced talent on this team, anything less than a playoff birth would be a disappointment. Last season, the Isles didn’t have an overrall impressive record. But if you eliminate their horrendous slide throughout November and early December, they have a pretty decent record. From January through April, they had one of the best records in the league. Now with a fresh start, I’m expecting the Islanders to continue their strong play into this season. John Tavares enters his third season with a new contract and high expectations. Since he is the leader of this team now, I’m expecting even better numbers from JT. I can’t see why Tavares can’t have a 100+ point season. Here is the 2011-2012 Islanders broken down by postion:

Forwards:

Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, Michael Grabner, Matt Martin, Matt Moulson, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Jay Pandolfo, PA Parenteau, Marty Reasoner, Brian Rolston, Ryan Strome, John Tavares

Just a great young group of forwards. I’m expecting big things from Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo. KO was hurt for most of last season, but was a huge factor at the end of the year. If he has a full healthy season, he will contribute immensely. Mark my words, Frans Nielsen is the most underrated player in the NHL. Brian Rolston was a nice pickup from the Devils. His experience is great to have since this is a group of young forwards. PA Parenteau and Blake Comeau should have respectable numbers since both of them scored 20+ goals last season. I was surprised the Islanders’ 2011 first round pick, Ryan Strome, made the team in his first season. This guy has tremendous potential, but I’ll predict that he will be back in the OHL with Niagara after his first nine games. Finally, John Tavares is the best player on this team and an MVP-like season shouldn’t be out of the question.

Defense:

Mark Eaton, Travis Hamonic, Milan Jurcina, Andrew MacDonald, Mike Mottau, Steve Staios, Mark Streit

This is a much improved defense from last year since young studs Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald have another year of experience under their belt. This second-line duo was a huge surprise last season and I’m looking for them to have an even better season this year. Mark Eaton suffered a season-ending injury last season, while Mike Mottau missed most the year with an eye injury. These veterans can make an impact on the third line if they stay healthy. Milan Jurcina is an absolute beast. I love this guy. Standing at 6’4”, Jurcina was a solid defenseman for the Isles last season. 17 year veteran Steve Staois is expected to start in the first line with Mark Streit this season. With the Flames last season, he only played in 39 games because of injuries but he has been a solid defenseman in years past. Finally, newly named captain Mark Streit will anchor the D. Streiter missed the entire season because of a shoulder injury, but he is back in full force this year.

Goaltenders:

Rick DiPietro, Al Montoya, Evgeni Nabokov

For the first time in a while, the Islanders look pretty strong at goaltender. Of course, DiPietro’s health is always a factor. But the difference this year is that the Isles have depth. Al Montoya looked great last year after being acquired from the Coyotes. And finally, Evgeni Nabokov decided to get his head out of his ass and join the team after a drama-filled winter. Nabby is currently first on the Isles’ depth chart.

This should be a promising season on the Island. With all of the distractions about the new Coliseum voted down, it feels good that things can go back to normal. Now Isles fans just have to focus on the season and not the bullshit distractions of all of the politics with this franchise. We should be proud of this 2011-2012 team. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Isles earn as high of a six-seed for the playoffs come February. First game is Saturday at the Coliseum against the Panthers at 8pm.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: