New York Islanders

The New York Islanders’ third line could be the team’s largest shortcoming in 2016-17.

If Arthur Staple’s prophecy comes true, then the New York Islanders’ third line could be the team’s Achilles Heel in 2016-17.

Staple, the team’s beat writer for Newsday, predicted the Brooklyn-based squad’s line combinations. If his divination were to materialize, the Isles would have three adequate lines and an underwhelming third threesome.

Pursuant to Staple’s view that top prospect Mathew Barzal will make the big league team, Shane Prince and Alan Quine will watch from the press box as Nikolai Kulemin, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey grace the Barclays Center ice.

Hopefully general manager Garth Snow doesn’t have a blasé attitude about that possibility.


Because Kulemin vanished from the stat sheet in 2015-16 while Nelson took two steps back (despite netting 26 goals, his lack of aggression was alarming), and Bailey was, well… Bailey.

Jack Capuano‘s squad could have a conundrum on their hands if they sanction Quine and Prince to the sidelines. The duo of unheralded burgeoning forwards need to develop, and the NHL club could use their contributions.

Then there’s the Mikhail Grabovski question mark. As reported by SNY’s Brian Erni, there are conflicting reports as to whether or not Grabovski will be available for the start of the 2016-17 campaign. His last two seasons have been derailed by concussions, and he carries a cap hit of $5 million.

Should Michael Dal Colle not make the team and Quine and Prince be relegated to the press box, the Isles’ third line could be a hurdle.

That’s unsatisfactory for a team that prides itself on getting contributions from all four lines.

NEXT: Islanders: A Move To Queens Is A Possibility (Report)

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.