New York Preview: Anything Can Happen...But

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/03/2018 08:46:00 AM |
Most years folks who follow here know I usually put this team between 1/2-14-15th in conference, but there are many more challenging questions this time around with a championship-level staff. And frankly, there is no dominating team in this conference, most have big flaws.

Anything can happen.

So here goes.

A-Playing in two NHL arena's is unprecedented, players will talk about it not being a distraction, but it will be, for some it could become an excuse later.

1-Despite Lehner having NHL ability to post a 920. save percentage, he's not Halak, and will allow soft goals in big moments, as opposed to Halak, who had a next level in big moments. So there is getting points with a 5-4 win, allowing over forty shots, vs losing 3-2 and allowing under thirty shots but giving up soft goals. The shots against will go down dramatically, that's the plan but nothing could be worse in this era than last season with a team that had no defensive system or strategy. 

2-If this team is in contention or a playoff spot at deadline Lee, Nelson & Eberle are going nowhere, if they are not, they will be traded. Losing those players could set them back years because it's unlikely anyone wants to come to two construction zones in a suburb in front of no fans.

Stop pretending this is a destination for free agents, it never has been, players want their careers to matter, Tavares learned to aspire to be Long Island means you have to move on to bigger/better. 

3-Trust that Lamoriello/Trotz will change things on the ice, and the one year contracts will work themselves out, eventually the young players if productive will push out the players not helping.

I wanted Toews here, clearly over Sbisa, but he is a player who should be in the NHL lineup or playing top minutes in Brideport & did not even make 2018 before his season ended. Bottom line they got there with Pulock/deHaan, after years of injuries, and will again with Toews.

4-The top two lines will score their share, Beauvillier does not look like he was going to score four goals into January like last season, eventually Ladd will return, but must produce. Lee will get his 30-40, Bailey will get his numbers, and I expect Barzal, Eberle to get their numbers. Nelson should be highly motivated in a walk year to get thirty.

5-Like Trotz moving LD Leddy to RD a little, just to shake up his game a little, think we'll see ups/downs with unit, but we will see a strategy/system/plan.

They have good talent waiting if players here struggle, well beyond Toews.

6-Every team in this division has big flaws, so expect less playoff seeds from it.

7-Term for term trades is what this team needs, they are not giving up any #1 picks for rentals before the trade deadline when the first round picks will not be lottery selections. I suggested Leddy for Nylander as a term for term trade, Leafs take Clutterbuck salary in deal. Both teams get something they need, but deals like that rare these days. The cap is high enough to avoid the Boychuk-Leddy trades this time around.

8-Conclusion, they will be a better, different 82 game team unlike last year's eight game over mirage where it was clear the scoring/Halak could not hide the defensive issues until late November.

I expect them to be in the mix, but when they put some lines on the ice you know you are hoping for only an even shift at best which is what #17-53-15 are, and what Fritz, Johnston, and the incoming players are despite being mainstays on playoff teams a year ago.

Ho-Sang, Bellows, and the other forwards there want NHL jobs, produce & give management every reason to give you a spot here.

Two arena's will be a huge negative issue, and when our owners/Barclay's see Nassau empty seats we'll see if they really want to be the only team to return full time to a failed suburb, as Dolan's tenant (SMG revisited) when every other team said they must be in a city to survive financially.

We know the worst teams media in North America will continue to show there is no cap floor in how poorly this team can be covered, as their job is to keep their job above anything else.

130 other teams do not have this issue.