New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight is sending a clear message to his team: Hit the ground running and don’t stop.
Training Camp is underway for the New York Islanders, and this coming season Head Coach Doug Weight wants to make sure his team is fully prepared to face the challenges of an 82-game regular season and, hopefully, a deep playoff run.
The Islanders rookie camp concluded this week after a 4-3 OT win against the Philadelphia Flyers, and the ‘rookie’ coaching staff is ready for the challenge of preparing their NHL roster for a fast start—the opposite of last season.
Newsday‘s Arthur Staple outlines the breakdown of the coaching staff this season:
Weight outlined staff responsibilities: Cronin runs PK, Buchberger/Gomez on PP, Richardson runs the D. Gomez eye in the sky for games.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) September 15, 2017
The one constant from the last three seasons will be Greg Cronin running the Islanders penalty kill. Over the past two seasons, the unit has ranked fourth and 11th overall in the NHL.
Fans will be glued to the Islanders powerplay, an area of much-needed improvement after finishing 28th overall last season. Kelly Buchberger will be coordinating the powerplay on the bench while Scott Gomez will oversee everything via video.
If the Islanders want to taste playoff hockey, they know they’ll need at least a middle of the pack PP.
The first day of #IslesTC is in the books! ?: https://t.co/4hFON2TuzF pic.twitter.com/Ce3WlAYMCg
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) September 15, 2017
Early training camp impressions point to a first line of Anders Lee, John Tavares and Jordan Eberle, just as many had predicted. The other three offensive lines are hard to predict as Weight mixes-and-matches, but we’ll probably be seeing something like this once the puck drops:
Anthony Beauvillier – Mathew Barzal – Josh Ho-Sang
Andrew Ladd – Brock Nelson – Josh Bailey
Jason Chimera – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
An interesting observation on defense is that Ryan Pulock skated alongside Nick Leddy in the first group’s skate. If Pulock found a way to garner more speed, it’s likely he ascends to the either of the top-four pairs rather than hang around with Seidenberg like many pundits believe he will.
The Islanders may have lost some defensive skill on paper, but with plenty of rookies chomping at the opportunity to slot in the empty roster spot, replacing Travis Hamonic is of no concern. My early projections:
Nick Leddy – Adam Pelech
Calvin deHaan – Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg – Ryan Pulock
Scott Mayfield would be the first guy to get the call should an injury arise, and Thomas Hickey makes for the ideal seventh defenseman. While Seidenberg was a steady mainstay last season and a pleasant surprise, he’s 36 and shouldn’t play more than 60 games this season. Unfortunately, the same goes for Johnny Boychuk, who at 33 is noticeably losing some speed.
Do yourself a favor and dig through the photographs of the Islanders on Twitter. Notice anything different about Tavares? Yes, he is smiling in a lot of those pictures.
#Isles Media Day in full swing! ?? #IsItOctoberYet pic.twitter.com/bCNRSYe1dt
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) September 14, 2017
Doesn’t seem to be the face of someone who wants out, does it?
The captain is ready for October, and so are we.