The New York Islanders struggled out of the gate last season and fired Jack Capuano. The mid-season addition of Doug Weight as head coach led to the team playing with a previously absent passion. John Tavares is heading into a contract season and it is important for the Islanders to get off to a fast start. If not, the Tavares trade rumors will start to swirl. It is also possible he decides to leave in free agency this upcoming summer.
Tavares can’t do it all by himself. He is the main reason why Islanders fans and other fans come to the Barclays Center. He is a franchise player and Tavares means everything to New York. They are also in a sticky situation when it comes to where they will be playing in a couple of years.
Projected lines: Line 1: Anders Lee-John Tavares-Jordan Eberle
Line 2: Anthony Beauvillier-Mathew Barzal-Josh Bailey
Line 3: Andrew Ladd-Brock Nelson- Josh Ho-Sang
Line 4: Nikolay Kulemin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck
Defense 1: Nick Leddy-Johnny Boychuk
Defense 2: Calvin de Hann-Dennis Seidenberg
Defense 3: Adam Pelech-Thomas Hickey
Jarsolav Halak will be the starting goalie. Thomas Greiss will be the backup.
Expect these players to step up in case of injury: Jason Chimera, Michael Dal Colle, Shane Prince, Alan Quine, Sebastian Aho, Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews, and Christopher Gibson.
The Islanders have good depth and I think they will compete for a wild card spot in the eastern conference. They won’t finish in the top three in the Metropolitan Division however.