With just 10 games played so far in their 2017-18 NHL season, the New York Islanders have shown that they can be a real legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference.
While their special teams—especially their power play—has been an absolute disaster (and I don’t say that lightly), there is no denying the potential that surrounds the New York Islanders.
What makes watching this team so frustrating at times is that the pieces are there for them to be a squad that can easily collect 100 points. While secondary goal scoring has always been a consistent issue since John Tavares was drafted in 2009, this current group has a number of players that are ready to break out.
Brock Nelson, Matthew Barzal, Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd and Jordan Eberle are all players that are capable of posting at least 45 points and scoring 20 goals.
Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck provide an excellent scoring threat on the all-important fourth line. Anthony Beauvillier has a mountain of talent and each game it’s been a pleasure to see his confidence grow with each shift.
On defense, Nick Leddy, Calvin de Haan and Johnny Boychuk are playoff-tested veterans that provide excellent leadership and quality point totals. Thomas Hickey and Dennis Seidenberg are more than capable second-tier defenseman who can be counted on. Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield and Ryan Pulock are learning fast and their potential to be first-line defenseman is becoming more evident every shift they take.
Pulock is a player that definitely needs to see more playing time, as his two games played this season make hockey fans scratch their head.
In goal, Tomas Griess and Jaroslav Halak are more than capable of carrying this team to where they want to get to.
Left alone, this Islanders team should still be good enough to collect at least 95 points. Last season, that wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs. With the talent in the Metropolitan Division, it might not be enough to make the postseason this year either.
What do the Islanders need to get to the next level? Right now one of those players is at Bridgeport.
Joshua Ho-Sang is a playmaker. In just 81 minutes this season, he has collected four assists and his speed and puck handling are awesome. Whatever lessons the Islanders braintrust think he needs to learn, I hope he learns them soon, because his presence in Brooklyn is desperately needed.
While I definitely believe the New York Islanders have the talent in-house to address their issues and become an elite team, I also think that a trade that can free up forward space for a superstar to compliment Tavares is another welcome idea.
For months now rumors have surrounded the New York Islanders and Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene. A player like that would definitely put the Islanders over the top. While general manager Garth Snow has shown the ability to make a solid draft day trade, his in-season trades have been awful.
The Islanders need to get it together—quickly. This team is simply too talented to fail.