I keep getting the same comments, the New York Islanders have been rebuilding/developing for years, then comes the no playoff wins since 93 mantra.
This is simply not true.
My response to this always is when they were making four playoffs in six years, that was not developing. They did have some prospects who could contribute at this level, however most did not make it.
The verdict is in on the drafts from 2002-2005, outside of Blake Comeau, Frans Nielsen or Bruno Gervais, it's not looking very good in terms of impact players in New York or around the NHL.
In Ted Nolan's final year when they lost a league leading 402 man games to injury or a league leading 582 in 08-09 that was not developing.
Those seasons (especially 08-09) were about finding enough healthy bodies to fill out a lineup with Tim Jackman playing five games in five days for the Islanders and Sound Tigers. In 07-08, the injuries hit hardest the final month so they stayed in contention to a degree.
Last year with only 250 man games lost to injury, that was more about development, the proof was in the improvement in the standings, and the wins against all of the top teams.
This year ended before it got a chance to start in many ways, it's very much like 08-09 now even with the scoring problems surfacing early, and the reality check that many of the past picks/some via trade (Nielsen, Comeau, Hunter, Tambellini) did not step up and produce at a time they had to for this to have a chance.
I don't see 2010-11 as developing, as much as I see it as again surviving a season.
That may happen along the way but Travis Hamonic is here because practically every single defender has been out or injured/suspended or playing hurt.
The hard, bitter truth is Florida never got there with development, and a decade later are still working through it. Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago took close to a decade, and a lot of steps backwards along the way. St Louis, Columbus, Nashville and many other franchises could still go either way.
One year, one eighteen point improvement, sandwiched between three years decimated with injury is not real development or giving a plan a chance. It's not even the start of real development/improvement until these players not only produce at this level, but learn to win, and have a healthy supporting cast to help them.
Right now this is only surviving a season, and seeing what some of these kids can do.
Glendale stepped up and invested in saving the Coyotes franchise, for better or worse their new owner (when approved) will be willing to bleed millions for likely a decade plus.
Nassau/TOH are not giving Charles Wang (or Scott Rechler) the time of day for free, Wang and/or Rechler are paying Smg 17m for what some claim are a gift.
The clock is ticking.
To the best of my knowledge, it's Calvin deHaan, Casey Cizikas, Brock Nelson, Nino Niederreiter representing New York at the WJC starting Dec 26th.
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