Islanders hope youngsters are ready for lineup

Saturday, 08.25.2012 / 10:08 AM ET / News
By Corey Masisak  - NHL.com
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Islanders hope youngsters are ready for lineup
After another non-playoff season, the New York Islanders need some of their young talent to step up and provide more support for budding superstar John Tavares.
Evgeni Nabokov stabilized the goaltending in 2011-12, his first season on Long Island (Getty Images)

Two seasons ago the New York Islanders scored plenty of goals but their goaltending was a mess. Last season, some of the young offensive talents regressed and while Evgeni Nabokov stabilized the goaltending, the defense in front of him remained lacking and the Islanders didn't make much progress reducing their goals allowed.

The future for New York remains John Tavares and a collection of other young talents, but the Islanders need some of his supporting cast to improve in order to take a step forward this season. PA Parenteau looked like he might be doing just that after a fruitful season next to Tavares, but he's now with the Colorado Avalanche after signing a four-year, $16 million deal.

To replace Parenteau's offense, the Islanders added Brad Boyes in a low-risk signing -- and will be hoping Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo, Michael Graber and David Ullstrom find a consistent level of production. Lubomir Visnovsky and Matt Carkner were added to bolster the defense depth, while several young rearguards could have an impact this season

For the first time in a while, there wasn't a lot of movement during the offseason in goal for the Islanders. There are still plenty of options available, and they won't be dependent on injury-prone Rick DiPietro if they don't want to be.

Forwards

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Brad Boyes

Josh Bailey - Ryan Strome - Kyle Okposo

David Ullstrom - Frans Nielsen - Michael Grabner

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Eric Boulton

Marty Reasoner - Jesse Joensuu

Defensemen

Mark Streit - Travis Hamonic

Lubomir Visnovsky - Andrew McDonald

Matt Donovan - Matt Carkner

Ty Wishart

Goaltenders

Evgeni Nabokov

Rick DiPietro

Notes: The first big decision will be about Strome's future. If the Isles send their top pick from the 2011 NHL Draft back to the Ontario Hockey League, Nielsen and Cizikas likely will move up and Reasoner slides into the lineup. Boyes is expected to get the first crack at replacing Parenteau, but if Grabner rediscovers his scoring touch he could end up there.

The top four on defense are set, provided Visnovsky is with the team (he has filed a grievance against his trade from the Anaheim Ducks). Donovan is expected to compete with fellow youngsters Calvin de Haan and Aaron Ness for a spot in the lineup, with the other two likely to start the season in the American Hockey League. Griffin Reinhart, the team's 2012 first-round pick, would need to have a fantastic training camp to earn the spot, and even that might not be enough -- the Islanders have established a desire to be patient with their top prospects, especially on defense.

Nabokov enters the season as the No. 1 guy in net. DiPietro, if healthy, would push him for playing time and something of a platoon could develop. If either isn't able to stay healthy, Kevin Poulin will be waiting in Bridgeport, with Anders Nilsson not far behind.

Follow Corey Masisak on Twitter: @cmasisak22

Author: Corey Masisak | NHL.com Staff Writer

STROME STEPS UP | BOYES LOOKS TO REDISCOVER ALL-STAR FORM | ISLES LOOKING FOR CONSISTENCY

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 77 42 24 11 211 194 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 PHI 77 31 29 17 202 220 79
12 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 78 29 43 6 204 249 64
16 BUF 77 22 47 8 152 258 52

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 77 34 43 -2 77
R. Strome 76 16 32 20 48
K. Okposo 55 16 31 -11 47
F. Nielsen 76 14 28 8 42
B. Nelson 77 19 22 7 41
A. Lee 71 23 16 10 39
J. Bailey 65 15 23 3 38
J. Boychuk 67 8 25 9 33
N. Leddy 73 10 21 14 31
T. Hamonic 67 5 26 16 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 36 16 2 .913 2.42
M. Neuvirth 1 3 1 .881 2.94

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