Each season needs to have a distinct purpose, one that the players buy into and correlates into a winning strategy - at this point, for reasons in many ways beyond the team's control, the Islanders have been disjointed.
It's been unclear what the goal is - maximize a small amount of salary revenue? make the playoffs? resurrect DiPietro at any and all costs? build for the future? win now? all of the above?
Problem is all of the above doesn't cut it - there are too many points of conflict, and so recommend the following
1) Recognize that DiPietro is DONE - Redden him and call up Koskinen or Poulin - perhaps one for the next 20 games, and the other for the next 20 - get them some time in the bigs now - NHL experience is important, and this way we can really see what they have on offer - DiPietro plays in Bridgeport, and if he dominates (doubtful) perhaps he gets another chance - otherwise, he's out of the way, which he very much is now - earn your playing time or go away
2) Call up Travis Hamonic - we need to start giving him NHL level experience - he's capable and needs to play at the speed that simply doesn't exist in the AHL - it is a myth that spending time in the AHL is valuable
3) Start bringing up as many other young prospects through the season as possible - Gervais? Cut him - Hillen not in favor? Cut him. Start giving the younger guys a shot and see if they have something to offer longer term if these guys can't cut it - stop worrying about who's on a cheap one way contract, and see what we have in Ullstrom, Joensuu, etc. - rotate these type of players in every 5-10 games or so
As the injured players, KO, Streit, AMac come back, hopefully in combination with the youngsters gaining experience, we can start to really see what the possibilities are for next year and the year after
Let this year be a real experience gaining, trial period for as many of the kids as possible - too bad we didn't keep Nino up here for the same reason - if it looks like you belong, start gaining the experience required, and sort out who's a keeper and not
And we need to see if Bailey, Comeau, Schremp, etc. really have it - in fairness, perhaps some of them are playing hurt, but let the sorting our process begin
And without the soul draining presence of Rick DiPietro
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