Reviewing The Isles Offseason

The Isles had a breakout season last year, making it to game 7 and losing in a tight game 2-1, to the Washington Capitals. This offseason, the Isles are trying to improve, in order to go deeper in the Playoffs next season. With a higher salary cap, and a move to Brooklyn, the Isles should be looking to spend more money. Here are my thoughts on the good moves, bad moves, and moves that need to be made before the drop of the puck in the 2015-16 season.

Good Moves:

  1. Signing Thomas Greiss- Thomas Greiss is a solid backup goaltender. Last year, he played with Pittsburgh and went 9-6-3 with a 2.59 G.A.A and a .908 save%. His best year was in 2013-14 with the Coyotes, where he posted a 2.29 G.A.A with a .920 save%. He will give Jaro Halak and the Isles some depth in net.
  2. Trading Griffin Reinhart- The 2012 4th overall pick had high expectations heading into the 2014-15 season. He made the Isles roster, but his stint only lasted 4 games. He was called up throughout the year, but never seemed to fit in. In the playoffs, he played one game in which the Isles lost 5-1. Trading him to the Oilers for a 16th and 33rd overall picks was a great move. They acquired a top 10 talent in Mathew Barzal, who they expect to be the second line center in a few years, behind Captain John Tavares.
  3. Not Resigning Lubomir Visnovsky- Lubo was no doubt a great defenseman in his prime. However, those days are way behind him. Lubo made almost $5 million last year, which is way too much for an injury prone, old d-man. Not resigning him opens up a roster spot, which the Isles have yet to fill.

  Bad Moves:

  1. Resigning Thomas Hickey to a Three Year Deal- Thomas Hickey, another 4th overall pick, by the LA Kings, is a below average d-man. He has a small structure, is not quick to the puck, and is not physical. His only upside is his vision. However, signing him to three years is a mistake. I feel he needs to prove himself first, before receiving a big contract.
  2. Not Firing Jack Capuano- Yes, I know many will disagree. He led the Isles to one of the best seasons in franchise history. The truth of the matter is he’s not a good coach. In the Playoffs, he looked clueless at some points. He chose not to start Anders Lee, and instead put in a worthless player, Colin McDonald. Maybe it’s the inexperience, but I don’t feel that he’s the right leader for a team contending for a Cup.

Moves That Need To Be Made:

  1. Sign A Top 4 D-man- The Isles have failed to sign a top 4 defenseman to play with Travis Hamonic. They have a bunch of trade bait, such as Michael Grabner and Calvin De Haan. Like last year, Garth Snow might be waiting for the weekend before the season begins, but this is definitely one spot that needs to be taken care of before heading into the 2015-16 campaign.

*Make sure to leave your opinions below! Thanks for reading!

Top 10 Nassau Coliseum Moments

*This list is all based off of my personal opinion.*

As many of you know, the Isles just finished their last season on the Island. Starting next season, the Islanders will call Barclays Center “home.” It’ll definitely bring a new feel to the players, fans, and organization all around. However, the memories that have been made over the 43 years in “The Old Barn” will never be forgotten. Here, we will be taking a look at the top 10 Nassau Coliseum moments.

10. Game 4 of the 2013 ECQF- Penguins vs Islanders John Tavares’ goal

It was May 8, 2013. The Isles came into the Series down 2-1, due to an Overtime winner by Chris Kuntiz in Game 3. This was the first Playoff series for the Isles in 6 seasons. They were the #8 seed, going up against their arch rival Penguins, the #1 seed. The Old Barn was rocking for Game 4, hoping to help their Isles to a tied series. Throughout the game, both teams showed huge resiliancy. The Pens and Isles both came back from being down twice. It was the middle of the third and the game was tied 4-4. The crowd was both nervous, and eager for another goal. The Penguins had the puck and were exiting the zone. A pass from Evgeni Malkin hit the forechecking Brad Boyes. Boyes fed Tavares who made two moves and took a shot that was originally stopped by Fleury, but got the rebound and slid it under the goaltender’s arm. The crowd went absolutely insane, waving their blue towels and chanting “MVP! MVP!” as Tavares and the Isles celebrated the lead. This turned out to be the game-winning goal of Game 4, and would tie the series up at two.

9. Al Arbour’s 1500th Game Coached

Al Arbour is by far the Isles greatest head coach of all time, leading them to 4 Cups and 740 wins over 20 seasons of coaching. He is also regarded as one of the NHL’s greatest to coach the game. For over ten years, he was sitting on 1499 games coached and 739 wins. His “739” banner hung in the rafters of Nassau Coliseum until November 3,2007. He was invited to coach the Islanders one last time for his 1500th game. The night of November 3, Al Arbour coached his 1500th game for the Isles, leading them to a 3-2 over the Penguins. Before puck drop, he had his “739” banner replaced with a “1500” banner. “Arbour, Arbour”, the Islanders fans cheered, appreciating the greatness in front of them. Many will never forget this night.

8. Mike Bossy: 50 in 50

Mike Bossy was a fantastic goal scorer. Everyone knew that. What they didn’t know, was the feat he was about to accomplish in the 1980-81 season. It was Mike Bossy’s 50th game of the season. He was sitting on 48 goals and he knew he needed 2 more to become the second player in history to score 50 goals in 50 games. The Isles were playing the Quebec Nordiques, and Bossy had been kept scorless for the first 55 minutes of play. There was no OT so he had to score 2 in the last 5 minutes. He scored his 49th, but still needed one more in the last three minutes. And he did. He scored five hole on the Nordiques goalie, on a shot from the circle. This created one of Nassau Coliseum’s most memorable moments, and one of the league’s most iconic images.

7. 2015 Game 3 ECQF- Tavares OT Goal

Game 3. Series tied 1-1. Islanders-Capitals. Overtime. Final season at the Nassau Coliseum. John Tavares.

This is the summary most people will tell you when you mention “John Tavares’ Ot Winner vs the Caps”. Now let me tell you the whole story. The Isles came into game 3 pumped. They had stolen home ice from the Caps and had turned the series into a best of 5; with 3 being in NY. The Isles dominated periods one and two, and had a 1-0 lead heading into the third on a goal by Kyle Okposo. The story changed in the third however. The Caps came out flying and finally scored with 6:06 remaining in the third. The Isles didn’t get down, and continued to push until the end of regulation.

Overtime wouldn’t last too long. It started with a faceoff win by the Isles. The puck came to Johnny Boychuk who blasted it in on Holtby. Holtby caught it and dropped it off to his defenseman, who played the puck up the boards. Nick Leddy kept it in and threw it on net. Holtby kicked it to is right, but right there was Tavares to squeeze it home. “SCORE! TAVARES” Doc Emerick screamed as the Coliseum went nuts. Isles fans of this generation will surely remember this goal.

6. Isles Last Game At Nassau Coliseum

It was Game 6 of the ECQF vs the Capitals. A loss meant a Caps series win, and an end of an era at the Nassau Coliseum. The Isles weren’t going to let that happen however. Midway through the period, the score is 1-1. John Tavares corrals the puck in his own zone. With speed, he skates through center and into the Caps’ zone. He outskates tthe Capitals’ defensemen, but is poke-checked at the last second by Caps netminder Brayden Holtby. The puck goes into the corner. Tavares battles for the puck with Karl Alzner. Out of nowhere, Alex Ovechkin comes in and hits Tavares hard into the boards. It seemed as Tavares was hurt because he fell down into a heap. The Isles crowd all stood up and starting petitioning for a penalty call. Away from the play, Nick Leddy saw Nikolai Kulemin alone in front. He fed him the puck and Kulemin made no mistake, giving the Isles a 2-1 lead. The crowd went absolutely insane, with some not realizing that the Islanders just scored.

Fast forward: 1:00 left in the game. The Caps try to enter the zone. The dump in is cut off by Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk feeds Clutterback who chips it by Ovechkin, shoots and scores. The crowd is in a frenzy as they knew it was heading to a Game 7. To end the game on a fitting note, the Caps’ John Carlson took a slapshot about 2 seconds after time ran out. The puck hit Halak up high, and although he was okay, the Isles took exception. A brawl began and would last for a couple of minutes, until Isles Captain John Tavares came on the ice and pumped up the crowd. I was at that game, and I’m sure everyone in attendence, and those watching on TV, will never forget this game.

5. Ken Morrow’s OT Goal in the ’84 Playoffs vs the Rangers

It was 1984 and the Islanders had won 3 Cups in a row. They were playing their crosstown rivals the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Patrick Division semis. The Isles were 39 seconds away from a 3-2 series lead, but Rangers’ LW Don Maloney scored to tie the game up. The Overtime that followed was considered one of the greatest of all-time. The Isles and Rangers traded terrific chances, with both goaltenders making terrific saves. Finally, at 8:56 of OT, a slapper from Ken Morrow beat Rangers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck. This would be an important goal to the Isles, as they would eventually win Cup #4.

4. Shawn Bates’ Penalty Shot Goal vs Toronto: 2001-02 Playoffs

The game was tied 3-3. It was Game 4 of the First Round. Shawn Bates was a quick Isles forward who wasn’t a big goal scorer. With 2:30 left in regulation, Bates received a breakout pass and put on the speed. He tried to get around Leafs’ defenseman Brian McCabe, but was tripped down and given a penalty shot. At that time, Curtis Joseph had stopped 4 out of 5 penalty shots he had faced all year. The Isles had failed on both penalty shots in team history. The entire crowd got up to cheer Shawn Bates on. (Remember, there was no shootout at this time, so the concept of going in one on one against the goalie was rare.) Bates took the puck, came in with speed, and fired it over the blocker of the Leafs goaltender. The whiteout at Nassau Coliseum went crazy, as their team had taken a 4-3 lead.

3. Isles Win Back-To-Back Cups

The Isles had won the Cup in 1980, defeating the Flyers in 6 games. They were now trying to complete their second Cup win in 2 years. They did just that, defeating the North Stars in 5 games. This was the year most hockey fans finally started to realize the Islanders had themselves a dynasty.

2. The Islanders Win Cup #4

In 1983, the Isles became the second team in history to win 4 Cups in a row. Other than the first one, this one seemed to be the sweetest. After 3 tight playoff series against the Capitals, Rangers, and Bruins, the Isles swept the Oilers in the Cup final to complete 4 Cups in a row. To this day, it is still known as one of the best dyansties in sports history.

1. Bob Nystrom Wins Cup #1

It was Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Final. The New York Islanders vs the Philadelphia Flyers. It was 4-4 heading into Overtime. A Flyers goal, and the series would be headed back to Philly tied 3-3. An Islanders goal, and they would win the Cup. The breakthrough finally happened. John Tonelli chipped the puck forward to linemate Bob Nystrom. Nystrom tipped it past Flyers goalie Pete Peeters. The Islanders fans went absolutely insane, as a Dynasty had been born.

 

*Please leave your opinions and feedback on this article!*

 

 

 

 

 

Isles 2015-16 Team Needs and Predictions!

Ok so these are a few predictions/team needs for the Isles for the 2015-16 season.

Team Needs: A left handed, top 4, veteran defenseman.

Who They Can Get: The Isles should definitely go after Johnny Oduya. He will be a huge addition to the team, giving the Isles defense more veteran leadership. If we were to sign him, he would most likely play alongside Travis Hamonic on the Isles second defensive pairing. That would leave Pulock to play with Hickey or Mayfield on the third defensive pairing.

Predictions For Next Season:

2nd in Metro Division, ECF Loss

If the Isles can get that top 4 dman, they will be a true contender. They have many prospects to trade so if anyone is available during the trade deadline, the Isles would be able to acquire a rental player. With a more experienced squad, I give our team a chance to make it all the way to the ECF. 

The X-Factor:

The X-Factor for the Isles is definitely Jaro Halak. Last year, he played 59 games, going 38-17-4 with a 2.43 G.A.A and a .914 save %. If he can stay healthy, and put up great numbers with the Isles improved defense, the Isles will definitely be Cup contenders. 
*Feel free to agree/disagree with me. Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll make sure to answer them all!

The Isles Worst Trade In Recent History

I’m sure many of you will agree with me, when I say the Isles worst move in recent history was the Chara-Yashin trade.

Before The Trade:

The Isles drafted Zdeno Chara 56th overall in 1996. He played a few seasons for them, and did not put up great numbers. In 2001, the Isles had the number 2 pick in the NHL Draft. They were also highly interested in Ottawa’s Alexei Yashin. Yashin had been putting up very consistent numbers before being traded, having 94 points in the 1998-99 season, and 88 points in the 2000-01 season. After picking Dipietro first overall in the previous draft, the Isles felt as if they were on the uprise. So they decided to trade Chara, their 2nd overall pick, and forward Bill Muckalt to the Sens, for Alexei Yashin.

After The Trade: 

The Senators picked Jason Spezza with their newly acquired 2nd overall pick. Years later we understand why this was on of the most lopsided trades of all time.

  1. Alexei Yashin played 3 full seasons with the Isles, never putting up more than 75 points. He also never managed to help the Isles to a playoff series win.
  2. Spezza and Chara would develop into NHL superstars. Spezza would be part of a great Sens team who went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007. Chara developed into an elite defenseman, who won the Norris Trophy in the 2008-2009 season for the leagues best defenseman. In 2011, he led his Bruins to a Cup victory over the Canucks, and then another Cup in 2013, losing to the Blackhawks.

Summary: The Isles gave up a future elite defenseman, and a top 2 draft pick who ended up being a top tier NHL forward, for a player who was past his prime, and would only play 5 seasons (3 full) for the Isles, before leaving for the KHL.
Let me know what you think was one of the most lopsided trades in Isles history, and NHL history as well! Thanks for reading!

Isles Draft Fail-2008

In the 2008 NHL Draft, the New York Islanders drafted Josh Bailey 9th overall. He was a great prospect that looked like he had a lot of potential, but never met his expectations. He has struggled to put up points, even when playing on the Isles top line with one of the best in the league, John Tavares. 

Who They Missed Out On:

Erik Karlsson, Tyler Ennis, Jordan Eberle, John Carlson, Roman Josi

Although the Isles missed out on these players, they redeemed themselves later in that draft, picking Travis Hamonic 53rd overall. Next year, they drafted superstar John Tavares first overall. Over the last few years, the Isles have done an exceptional job in the draft. If their top prospects meet their expectations, the Isles will be a powerhouse in the NHL for years to come.
*Comment one of your favorite/least favorite draft fails of all time

Isles Projected Lines

Fowards:

Strome-Tavares-Okposo

Lee-Nelson-Ho Sang

Bailey-Nielsen-Kulemin

Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Defenseman:

Leddy-Boychuk

Pulock-Hamonic

Hickey-Mayfield

Goalies:

Halak

Griess

The Isles have the potential to make some trades with the forward depth they have. Left out of this lineup were players Grabovski, Grabner and Colin McDonald. The Isles still have a bunch of prospects coming up over the next few years which can mean a player like Bailey or Okposo will be on the move. The Isles should definitely go after a defenseman, to add depth in case a defenseman would go down with an injury. They can also definitely use a left handed top 4 dman to play with Hamonic.

Isles Mini Camp

The Isles Mini Camp has come to an end. Today, team Blue defeated Team White 7-4. Alan Quine scored 4 goals, including a natural hat trick in the 3rd period. This game came a few days after the Isles prospects skill competition, in which Team Blue defeated Team White 8-3. The Isles look like they have a great future ahead of them after this mini camp.

  

Stars Acquire Sharp

The Dallas Stars have acquired Patrick Sharp and defenseman Stephen Johns from the Chicago Blackhawks, for Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt. This comes as a surprise to most because the Flyers were front runners for Sharp. Sharp should add to Dallas’s high scoring offense, but the loss of Daley means that the young defense gets even younger.

NY Isles Top 5 Prospects

5. Ilya Sorokin– Ilya Sorokin is a goaltender prospect, who was drafted 78th overall by the Isles in the 2014 NHL Draft. He is 6’2 168 pounds, and currently plays for HC CSKA Moscow of the KHL. He is only 19 years old, and if developed correctly, may become a number one starter for the Isles after Jaro’s contract is up.

4. Mathew Barzal– Mathew Barzal is a right handed shooting centerman, who was drafted 16th overall by the Isles in the 2015 NHL Draft. The Isles acquired this pick and the 33rd overall pick from the Oilers in exchange for defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart. Barzal was projected to go in the top 10, but dropped all the way to #16. He is only 6’0 181 pounds but can be a nice replacement for Frans Nielsen. He is a right hander too, which is something the Isles lack at the center position.

3. Joshua Ho-Sang– Josh Ho-Sang is a right wing who was drafted 28th overall by the Isles in the 2014 NHL Draft. He is known by many for his hands, and his amazing behind the back shoutout goal from his knees. He is aiming to make the Isles roster this season and if he does, I project him to play on the second line.

2. Ryan Pulock– Pulock is a 20 year old d-man who was drafted 15th overall by the Isles in the 2013 NHL Draft. He is the top defensive prospect for the Isles since Reinhart was traded. He has some size at 6’0 193 lbs, but he is known for his velocity on his shot. He clocked in at 105 MPH in this week’s Skills competition. I project Pulock to play with Hamonic on the Isles 2nd defensive pairing this season.

1. Michael Dal Colle– Dal Colle is the top Isles prospect. He is a left wing who was drafted 5th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. He won the Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals this season, and he is expected to make the Isles roster next season. I expect him to play with Tavares and Okposo on the top line, and that’ll be a deadly line. 

Summary: Expect the Isles prospects to all come up soon, and have a huge impact, including trading players such as Bailey, Grabner and more. The Isles will have enormous offensive depth and will be one of the leagues top offensive teams.

Joshua Ho-Sang Helps Build School

Joshua Ho-Sang, a New York Islanders prospect, helped build a school in Jamaica this summer. He was part of a group that completed a renovation of a 65 year old school, with one classroom the size of an NHL locker room. The school fit around 75 students from Kindergarten to 5th grade. Now, the school includes 6 classrooms for those 75 students. Ho-Sang, who was previously known for having a bad reputation, is now becoming a fan favorite in New York, and certainly in Jamaica.