NYIFC Projection: 13th in East...unless forward changes.

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/12/2022 10:29:00 AM |

For those who follow this site I was very negative at end of 2019-20 for a reason. The team ran out of gas in March 2020, they don't qualify for a bogus Covid Cup tournament in Canada if the 68 games played turn out to be 82, and they don't get a three month break. After that they got older/slower and gave out bad contracts to medicore veterans like Pageau who score 30 points on avgerage, and lost Toews who got 16 million from Colorado.

Then we have the 56 games where if Buffalo's great start is not killed by Covid, the NYI which got a second training camp at the end of January 2021 already under 500. return to play Buffalo who was sick/struggling/never found their game again, NYI don't go to first place, then collapse again at the end of 2020-2021 with an 0-12-1 record on road against Washington, Pens, Caps before Sorokin stole Pens series, and they got past Bruins in another tournament. Then Palmieri comes in to do what third line playoff/tournament rentals do, then are badly overpaid at far too old an age. Goodbye Eberle, Leddy. Hello older/slower Parise, Greene, Chara with an aging core.

2021-22 they go 5-6-2 thanks to Sorokin only & are already eliminated before the failed Belmont experiment even opens at late as it did. Parise, Bailey, Palmieri, Pageau rarely scored in first half. Chara was played like he was 28. Teams smothered aging core in all zones, and Trotz was right in early November, our playoffs are now, they kept losing, then the entire team got sick at Belmont, and no way were our owners or opposing teams giving up revenue/easy wins. By December Wings faded but Bruins grabbed 8th seend opened up a 20 point lead on NYI, and it was 55 games of garbage time. Lou acted like season was a throw away, not for NHL's best coach who got the blame for Lamoriello's signings (and re-signings) almost never scoring in first half, while Chara/Greene were traffic cones who could not get the puck to aging forwards, and had no chance in their own end vs young/skilled stars on other teams who can fly.

By March Lou made his 2023 forward decisions, more contract extensions to declining veterans. Virtually the same forward group returning. We had our forward group for 2022-23. So how does older/slower/not scoring produce with Trotz assistant who has no experience in top job? Answer it likely does not happen. The defense is much, much better, Sorokin is best goalie in NHL, but five players have to protect the goalie and far too many veteran forwards are long past their prime. Salo finally replaces Leddy who can fly and has poise with puck, Romanov replaces Chara, Dobson hopefully keeps improving. Pelech needs a better year, Pulock needs to be the defender he was in second half when he got healthy. Mayfield's contract year off Snow's last deal with him.

Overall don't see forwards this old/who won't score get back, put on pressure in the offensive zone, or stop young prime dynamic players, and group of bad teams for many years have stocked up. (not Flyers) Last year's 9th place finish drops NYI back to 13th with a real race for final seeds.

New York will not be there unless Lou follows through on his promise and fires those "on-notice" forwards who got long-term deals by ten game mark. Pageau, Bailey, Cizikas, Palmieri, Clutterbuck, Martin, Johnston, while they take chances with Dufour, Raty, Holmstrom, and take reigns off Bellows/Wahlstrom or make a deal to get Barzal the scoring/skating forward he needs. Don't expect Nelson to have that shooting percentage again or 40 goals.

Sorokin will hold them in but he can't steal this many 2-1 games and this offense unless Wahlstrom/Bellows produce like young stars.

Unless callups promoted to NHL and surprises another 4 goals 41 games for Parise/vets and another long season. Belmont will be empty either way unless Sat games help, and it won't produce 12,000 because parking/high prices not for Nassau crew, win or lose. Belmont is for Dolan/cronies/NYI just a hidden tennant.

Last year I projected 12th, now it goes to 13th because teams below them improved, and many now ready to contend.

Andy Greene has retired, one day contract with Devils.