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

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 75 34 40 -1 74
R. Strome 74 15 31 19 46
K. Okposo 53 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 74 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 75 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 69 23 16 14 39
J. Bailey 63 15 23 6 38
J. Boychuk 65 8 25 10 33
T. Hamonic 65 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 71 10 19 16 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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