8/15/07

Projecting the Islander forward lines at this point

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2007 07:33:00 AM
Of course a topic like this will absolutely mean the Islanders make a big trade today to alter everything...lol

Updated 12:50pm
Edited for Vasicek signing.

A lot of this even with who they have signed is likely up in the air until training camp when we see who Nolan pairs together. With one standout first line talent it's more about making sure you have scoring depth on at least two lines with a good checking line. Not just a depth chart.

For today, I will take a few guesses. No doubt between here and opening night a lot of things can happen to change this.

1.Fedotenko-Comrie-Guerin
This seems like the best first line the club can put out on paper. No one on the roster at this time has more scoring skill at the center position than Comrie and Guerin is the only pure first line talent on the roster.

Ruslan Fedotenko has the speed and skill and the circumstances are set up here for him to produce. On paper right now he stands out as the best chance to produce as a first line left wing, even if he's not a proven first line talent. No doubt after his minutes were reduced in Tampa he will be hungry to prove the critics wrong, he will be pushed by Simon and Sim if he's not productive.

The checking line goes second on my list because it's the easiest to project out.

3.Hilbert-Sillinger-Hunter
This was 2/3's of last year's checking line and for a good twenty games they carried the club. Hilbert has a new two-year contract and could move to center for Sim or another player but until he produces more his best fit is with Hunter and Sillinger.

Hunter is in his UFA year and will be under the gun to produce more on a nightly basis. Sillinger will likely outproduce the second line center and could even outproduce Comrie.

2. Bergenheim-XXXX-Satan
I think the second line left wing spot comes down to Bergenheim or Tambellini. I also see Bergenheim's overall game more ready for the NHL because he produced in an elite league in Europe and did not look out of place at all here in 05-06. That short stretch with Yashin (and Robert Nilsson) he was all over the place and looked like a top six forward. I have no doubt he will quickly win over Ted Nolan in camp as he has done with many fans. That written what he did in Europe and in 05-06 means nothing to Ted Nolan entering 07-08, he has a one year contract and has to earn his spot.

For Tambellini this is his time to step up or you have to ask can he play in this league? Los Angeles decided to move him and even though he has offensive skills it's show time for this player. Cannot see him on a fourth line as a left wing over Simon once his suspension is up and that's where he's going if Bergenheim is the second line left wing.

Who's the center? Could be a lot of players. Put down Hilbert as my darkhorse because he played center in Pittsburgh. As per my review of Vasicek he cannot play on a club's two lines as a six goal scorer when you don't have a proven first line center in Comrie.

Maybe Bergenheim or a long-shot like Nokelainen or Nielsen come in and take the second line center's spot too but on August 15th my depth chart says it's Hilbert's spot to lose today.

Clearly in Satan's UFA year he's the second line right wing from day one, unlikely he takes Guerin's spot on the first line.

4. Simon-Bates-Vasicek-Park-Tambellini-Nielsen-prospects

Simon will be on the fourth line once his suspension is up and likely will be spotted on the other lines depending on how he does. Is Bates healthy? All I know is he has two more years on his contract and was not bought out. Park has one more year left and did a very solid job. Frans Nielsen looked very solid in his callups also. Hard to find a balance here but we do know three players (Simon-Park-Bates) all have NHL contracts so a spot has to be found for them if they are healthy.

With all the rumors and reports of other forward signings it's almost impossible not to see a trade or two because clearly the club has a surplus of players and options.

One month until camp begins...

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