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30 Teams in 30 Days: New York Islanders

In previewing last year’s incarnation of the Islanders, ESPN’s Scott Burnside succinctly summed up the squad by remarking that “This is not the team to build your fantasy squad around”. And if you didn’t take his advice, chances are you weren’t in the money come season’s end. The Isles’ leading scorer, Mike Comrie, tallied only 49 points, and no one on the roster hit the 25 goal mark. In light of this, one wonders why it was Marian Gaborik and the Wild, rather than the Isles, who felt compelled to issue a mid-season apology to poolies about their lack of offensive output!

So, given what happened last year, a season where the team never seriously contended for a playoff berth, it’s tempting to think that things can only get better, right? Wrong. 

The biggest  source of optimism and hope for improvement  can be found behind the bench, where last year’s AHL Coach of the Year Scott Gordon of Providence will be replacing Ted Nolan, whose problems with the players and management have been well documented, or at least well-speculated in recent months. In light of the success of fellow minor league coach Bruce Boudreau in Washington last year, there is some reason to hope for a similar result on the island, even if Gordon does not have the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Mike Green to rely on to make him look good.

Forwards:

Up front for the Isles, the off-season losses of Miroslav “I wear Prada” Satan and Josef Vasicek, two of the top 5 scorers, does not bode well for the goals-scored column. These voids were not adequately filled in the free-agent market, where the most notable pick-up was Doug Weight, who at this point in his career is notable in name only, not in impact.  The club does have a respectable small nucleus of capable forwards in Comrie, captain Bill Guerin, Trent Hunter and Mike Sillinger, but these names don’t exactly stack up alongside the names found on the roster of, say, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Look for 2007 first round pick Kyle Okposo, a former University of Minnesota standout, to be given an abundance of opportunity to shine this season.

Defense:

By far the best pickup by the Isles this on the free-agent market was defenseman Mark Streit from Montreal. Streit will assume the power-play QB duties and provide a much-needed injection of offence. Unfortunately, the Isles lack another offensively-minded D-man to complement Streit on the point. While Brendan Witt, Chris Campoli and Andy Sutton are reliable to varying degrees, no one’s going to be comparing this unit to the likes of Denis Potvin and friends anytime soon.

Goal:

As known for the length of his contract (courtesy of owner Charles “Big… contracts” Wang) as for his abilities between the pipes, Rick DiPietro has the ability to single-handedly steal games. While he has yet to enter the upper-echelon of top-flight goaltenders, he will not be the reason the Isles have trouble winning. And with Mike Milbury gone, he doesn’t have to worry about being traded. Yann Danis was picked up in the summer to back-up DiPietro, but look for there to be minimal game-splitting between the two netminders.

Prediction:

Ceiling: 12th in the Eastern Conference.

Floor: 15th in Eastern Conference.

Most likely going to finish ahead of the Thrashers and Leafs respectively.

The Jets won
The Moose lost
The Ice won

It was a busy Illegal Curve Post-Game Show and we've got an Illegal Curve Hockey Show in 9 hours.

Another busy Saturday coming your way on https://illegalcurve.com/

If you couldn't join @ICEzzyG, @ICdrew and @ICdave live on the Illegal Curve Post-Game Show following the Jets win fear not cause you can watch the replay or download the podcast.

https://illegalcurve.com/game-26-jets-3-blackhawks-1-post-game-recap/

Associate coach Scott Arniel spoke after the Jets win in Chicago.

https://illegalcurve.com/game-26-jets-3-blackhawks-1-post-game-recap/

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