Islander Forwards Preview Part One

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/24/2007 12:01:00 PM | | | |
New York Islander Fan Central today begins it's preview of the club entering the 2007-08 season.

This will be updated several times and run for at least three-four parts as a grouping of players by position will be evaluated every few days.

Today we begin with what's projected to be the club's first line which are all new signings with no previous chemistry:

Bill Guerin:
Guerin will be asked to produce as he did last year and be captain of a club for the first time in his career on a team with no established first line talent.

On other clubs he has been surrounded by first line players to a point he was under less pressure to produce and still struggled with production and in some organizations he was used as a second line player. Despite his eight goals in sixteen games with San Jose after he was traded, he failed to score come playoff time.

Guerin's outside shooting is something badly lacking on the roster and no doubt he will come to play every night in a leadership role with a two-year contract. His pp ability will be a plus as will his grit and deterimation. Will not be expected to perform the miracles Yashin was expected to but will have pressure on him to be a lot of things he was not in other organizations and that could be a problem and he must stay healthy.

Good news is he will have veterans like Sillinger and Witt to lean on for support, bad news is a lot of underachievers have to step into scoring roles they have never been in and contribute more and not every player will succeed. Guerin is being asked to play the lead role and much more than he has done for a long time and even his best may not be enough so it could lead to frustration.

Mike Comrie:
Comrie was talked into signing here reportedly by Ryan Smyth and said all of the right things in the summer. Garth Snow is counting on him to be a first line center and produce as such and as a pending UFA. There is plenty or pressure on him because he's more suited to the second or third line center role given his numbers but the Islanders are looking for a career year or at least the thirty goal season he had a few years ago.

One thing for sure that will be a problem for Comrie was all the open ice and favorable match ups he had had in Ottawa will be the exact opposite in New York. On this club opposing coaches are going to be talking about how to stop Comrie because he has the most skills among the forwards. That likely never happened on other teams and the opposition will be quick to try and to get him off his game. How will Comrie respond?

Comrie does bring excellent skating, a quality shot and good offensive skills to this roster that were lacking. His health is a question mark and it's impossible to ignore how many teams he's been moved from to say nothing of him not being a great defensive player. Like Guerin, the Islanders are asking a lot here but it seems his best potential is in front of him and for this club to have any chance on the ice this signing has to work out for the club.

Ruslan Fedotenko:
Islanders paid Fedotenko a lot of money for his one twenty six goal season. He has a Stanley Cup ring from Tampa Bay where he was a huge part of that club winning with a dominating playoff. He has to be that player all season here for this to work and there are a lot of legitimate questions whether he can fill that role in his one season before he can go UFA again.

No doubt Fedotenko brings more speed and skill lacking from the previous roster, but how will he react in a primary role where he is being counted on. One standout item here is not his drop in production but that a tough players coach like John Tortatella reduced his role. If Tortarella cannot get the best out of him, how can Ted Nolan?

Were going to find out here whether Tampa's offensive depth helped Fedotenko or held him back. Like Comrie this player is at a point where we should see him with his best potential in front of him. All excuses have been removed and it's time for this player to step up or it could be one and done for him in New York. No doubt if Tambellini, Bergenheim or even Chris Simon show more than Fedotenko his time on the first line could be limited so he's under pressure to start well.

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