On Paper New York Improved, Does Tavares Agree?

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/05/2016 07:58:00 AM |
For folks who read this site, you know I was very negative about the teams chances going into many seasons. I do not feel that way at this time at all. 

I personally like the players lost, but the NHL is a business and about winning.
No doubt Stamkos partly stayed because his core was retained, Snow decided to retain Nielsen, who ultimately decided on another team while the other UFA had no real negotiation. Tavares just lost a big part of his core so does he feel loyal now that those players are gone, and especially Nielsen opting for change, while Okposo felt close to a cup in Buffalo? 

Personally for me Snow dodged another Vanek-like bullet with Nielsen turning him down. If you keep him for powerplay production, that's a mistake. I felt for years he did not belong on the powerplay, even when he was producing more at 5/5. 

Nielsen went from 12/28/15 to 4/22/16 without a single even strength goal. (not counting one vs Washington with Islanders goalie pulled)  He scored twice in March (both vs Rangers PP/EN) over 16 games.

He was +1 on season, -5 against Tampa with seven total 5/5 goals during the regular season. Most of his points came via powerplay. (two shorthanded, four ENG)

I looked long/hard at the goals Nielsen scored, you be the judge:
Meanwhile drafted center #5 overall, Ryan Strome, again mostly played right wing. I believe Strome can match Nielsen's 5/5 numbers playing center considering he already had one fifty point season.

It's also time to leave the 6'3, 24 year old, 20-26 goal, 40+ point Brock Nelson at his natural drafted position of center. Can't have any more Clutterbuck trades for players with this potential which is why as Niederreiter approaches 30 goal, 1st line potential, #15 cannot do that as he approaches UFA.

Like Matt Martin but Prince, Quine, and a lot of players with scoring ability help there. The hit totals will not be replaced, same as Nielsen's shootout ability. 

Can Ladd match Okposo when he was on the top line at his best, or be as invisible as Okposo at his worst?

What I absolutely do know is if you have a good defense/strong goaltender, you have a good team, and five/six defenders are in/entering their best years. The days of waiting for Hamonic/deHaan to develop are over.

In years when Mark Streit returned after a season out and was given Steve Staios, or Hamonic-MacDonald became the #1 pairing to replace Streit that was big trouble.

Is Snow going to move Halak who dominated the division the last two seasons for one goalie who's a career backup a year from UFA, and another who started only six games?

No idea what Ladd, Chimera, Parenteau will produce but fair to write they are going to score more here than Conacher, Bouchard, Regin, Skille, with Tavares.

Obviously if there is a market for Grabovski (doubtful) it has to be explored, same with Kulemin/Bailey, plus the drafted forwards are going to get a look in camp, plus Dal Colle/Ho-Sang will be in Bridgeport at worst.

Bottom line, it's a long summer, we'll see. I would not mind this team opening the season. Only management knows what they see, and what Tavares feels about some big parts of the core departing?