What the Islanders need

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/08/2008 10:09:00 AM |
You look at this organization and you see the prospects being able to help here and there as they develop, you see a lot of players you hope can become top six forards or top two defenders but what they do not have are franchise talents (perhaps outside Okposo/DiPietro) which makes it very tough on Garth Snow and Ted Nolan because what the Isles need in that regard is very hard to acquire in free agency.

And what do the Isles need?
They need a top level powerplay quarterback, one who can contribute a good ten plus goals, play solid defense and settle down a team. Something close to a combination of what Kenny Jonnsson gave them on defense and what Roman Hamrlik or Adrian Aucoin did for them at their best.

Aucoin was capable of ripping off ten goals in a month and Hamrlik a decade ago came here and was great offensively early on a terrible team.

We can hope Campoli, Gervais or another defender grows into that kind of spot but to expect that much from lower round picks is not likely. A Wade Redden fits that role and a few others from free agency but even by themselves that is asking a great deal on this roster. Even a Wade Redden did not have a dominating season for Ottawa and to do what's being asked will require a lot of front line talent to get him the time and space to do what he does best. A player many mention like Bryan McCabe is not a first line talent, in fact the offensive names around him to me seemed to make his game better when he was not gift-wrapping goals on defense.

Lets also call it for what it is, Isles not only need a true first line defender but they need a first line offensive talent with the speed and skill to open the ice for other players.

This player will be asked to get the puck to a Mike Comrie with time and space with his speed and have the offensive instincts to carry the puck the way Jason Blake did here and force the opposing defense to pay attention.

Right now the only open spot give the roster having four signed left wingers and at least two signed right wings and centers comes at center or right wing depending on Okposo playing here.

I can write the name Hossa but anyone who watched him in Atlanta, Pittsburgh or even Ottawa knows he's more a support player and as the primary player coming here alone to do this will likely not work. I can also throw a Martin Havlat into the high risk/reward category and hope he has a Kovalev kind of year here but that's also an extreme long-shot that falls into the Samsanov category in Carolina.

This does not even touch on the Isles mantra of character players because we all know some of these players do not show up for all eighty two games.

Bottom line, no easy answers on defense or up front. What the Isles seem to need will be very tough to develop or acquire.