In the next day (or sooner) the Islanders will make some decisions as to who reports to Bridgeport vs who is heading for New York. Some of it will be about competition for one spot or simply filling a preseason space until a Guerin, Sillinger are ready to return and ice a roster for preseason games.
Not the end of the decisions, only the beginning.
In the meantime we have to get down to the cold, hard numbers.
These are the numbers one of the lowest scoring offensive clubs in the NHL did not bring back over the summer and a roster that overall has not been durable.
Miroslav Satan RW 80 16 25 41 -11
Josef Vasicek C 81 16 19 35 1
Ruslan Fedotenko LW 67 16 17 33 -9
Bryan Berard D 54 5 17 22 -17
Marc-Andre Bergeron D 46 9 9 18 -14
Sixty two goals, Fourteen from the backline.
These numbers have to be made up for and vastly improved after that.
Add to this a powerplay that was at the bottom of the league that allowed the most goals with the man advantage.
On the plus side the return of Jon Sim should somewhat offset the offense of a Satan, Vasicek or Fedotenko if he matches his seventeen goals in Atlanta. Doug Weight will have to be where he was a year ago at this time statistically to replace another forward when he was a fifty point player.
The rest will come down to the progression of the young players and if they can not only produce to make up the difference but help in other area's that improve the overall roster production. .
Also on the plus side is Mark Streit replacing part of the offense lost with the trade/departure of Bergeron or Berard along with Campoli and Gervais being a year older combined with can Jack Hillen if called on be an offensive factor?
On the prospect front it's also fair to write it's desperation time for a Ben Walter or Jeremy Colliton to make an impact along with Jeff Tambellini, Frans Nielsen, these are players selected in 2002/2003 along with Bergenheim and Blake Comeau.
The contracts define who is ahead for now but that can change quickly.
It's a better defensive club with Bergeron, Johnson and Berard off the roster despite how steady they looked at times in the second half but it's not a durable group no matter how you cut it.
The injuries also tell a big part of the story on a club that lost four hundred man games to injury, Guerin, Sillinger, Weight are not getting younger who limped to the finish line if they finshed the season at all. Comrie played hurt and already the injuries are piling up.
On the enforcer front the players with contracts will fight it out for what seems the occasional Islander callup or spot in the stands along with MacDonald vs Danis who will fight for the backup job unless the club decides to bring in a veteran to buy DiPietro more time.
As for Scott Gordon's practices/controlled scrimmages/overspeed the smaller the group becomes the more things can and will be worked on. Expect the best work to be done after preseason is over and the new coach has a group of days to work with his final roster.
That's when we will see who buys in vs who is going through the motions.