Breaking Down our team into 4 clear categories would seem a sensible approach for establishing a clearer vision for the future of our beloved team. This may also help provide grounds as well for taking action now.
This very disappointing season to date has actually shown signs of promise - but it would be useful to see some movement on tolerating mediocrity - which really needs to stop as of like - right now.
Here's how I see the 4 categories of Islanders -
1) the young & promising (TEH CORE - spellchecked even)
2) the young & not so promising
3) the skating wounded and
4) guys to hopefully say sayonara to (probably after the season)
lets all do the hop
1) the young & promising
Forwards of the Now - John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen, Nino Niederreiter, PA Parenteau
Forwards Coming Soon - Ryan Strome, Casey Cizikas, Kirill Kabanov, Kirill Petrov, Justin Dibenedetto, Michael Haley (at least press box worthy), David Ullstrom (possibly)
(you math wizards may realize that's already 14) and that means decisions amongst this group are already necessary to make way for
Forwards to Come - Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Johan Sundstrom, John Persson
and so it appears, we have trading options now given depth in the system - good news - and then there's...
Defense of the Now - Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald (hopefully - see below)
Defense Coming Soon - Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness, Calvin de Haan (possibly - see below)
Defense to Come - Scott Mayfield, Andrey Pedan
not as bad as it may currently appear - and then of course
Goaltending of the Now - Al Montoya, Evgeny Nabokov
Goaltending to Come - Kevin Poulin (hopefully), Anders Nilsson (perhaps)
this is the core (and what this team should be)
Key Takeaways -
- Montoya + one of Poulin/Nilsson should be our G of the future- that is really just fine - could even argue to keep Nabby around - and that's a solid group
- the D isn't as promising - but perhaps better than appears if healthy - but more depth please & more speed
- we are very deep at Forward - scope for key trades
2) the young & not so promising (in bold as the spotlight is on)
Calvin de Haan - fragile, slim, not a big shot - you have to wonder about him but he could bring useful speed - I really need to take in a Bridgeport game soon
Ty Wishart - good thing Roloson has been stinking up the joint this year - this guy is at best a big question mark and if he retains trade value we may be wise to look into that - he seems to lack aggressiveness & game sense - that was actually very apparent the first game he played for Bridgeport (see the good old Sound Tigers Report - more on that coming when I can - been a long year....) - we need triers who lay it on the line
Josh Bailey - one of the wisest investors once told me one key to successful investing is once you recognize you have a loss, get out of the position before it gets worse - nuff said (of course we all know who he should have been traded for....). He was not ruined by being brought up young - he just isn't that good. HE may have a future as a 4th line defensive forward - somewhere...
Blake Comeau - his unwillingness to be physical combined with his offensive ineffectiveness should make him a candidate for press box time again soon - given our Depth in the system it is likely time to cut our losses.
It would seem useful to start making some moves in this area - players who don't get that their jobs are in jeopardy based on their lethargy on ice displays - those are the ones whose jobs should be in jeopardy today.
3) the somewhat recently injured, not fully healed, taking too many shifts - skating wounded
It would seem that the injuries of the above are not healed. Hopefully, AndyMac can find his way fully back - he has been getting better every game and was great last night against the Rangers - Hamonic as well - long may they reign - but if the two of them are relied on too heavily, they will wear down again. Not useful for the future. We need more depth on D now, even if just to give these two guys more cover. Streiit's lack of footspeed is getting very concerning - while he & Staios usually get by, where will they be midseason from a health standpoint? Okposo may well also not be fully back from his injuries one must conclude from his odd play. Jurcina, Eaton and Mottau may all be toast - and are not helping with the above.
Key Takeaways - we need to find a way not to burn out MacDonald & Hamonic + we need to recognize and address this year's defensive slowness in general and as quickly as possible. Sadly, our budget has made us rely heavily on players who weren't fully back from injuries - Mottau has been somewhat game at times, but he also falls into the next category
4) expires April 2012 - good for this year only
Staios, Pandolfo, Nabokov, RDP, Mottau, Rolston
Reasoner may also belong in this group, but we'll see - do we need 4 defensive centers given our depth in the system? (Cizikas, Frans, Reasoner, Bailey - I'd suggest we want Cizikas & Nielsen to ultimately be Centers 3 & 4 - and that assumes Moulson-Tavares-Strome)
Nabby I'd be interested in seeing stick around - maybe - the others probably not - including RDP - unless he pulls a miracle on ice
Conclusion (for this year) - The main thing they need to do is try harder - the number of players not trying at 100% is way too high - not tolerable. Nor is this conducive to selling tickets or winning games either.
Our D needs some beefing up & depth - not enough speed or ready prospects or hits by D - relying on Amac & Hamonic may backfire down the road.
And so it is time to start right now in reshaping this group into a winning ethic going forward and make moves along the lines of the above - we are actually much closer to success than may appear - and a few minor moves could help a lot.
And a final question in this regard - one has to wonder if there are other larger concerns taking Snow/Wang's eye off the ball - and if that isnt filtering down to the team a bit. This may explain the lack of 100% effort we've seen this year which is otherwise very puzzling - was true on opening night, and during many other games as well. Less so last night, the effort was encouraging - but we are all too often exposed by our weakest points - which should now be removed, for proper steering of the team going forward.
Lets Go Islanders.