Thought this might be fun theory/discussion for this time of year. The Islanders system may be two key players shy of contention, a number one defenseman and a big physical right-winger. The plan calls for 11 top-9 forwards (four must be centers) for depth and injuries plus line change combinations for all reasons, five top four defensemen plus depth, and a number one goalie plus depth.
To simplify the process, the analysis has been broken into three sections: Forwards, Defensemen and Goalies. Of course, it requires the patience to allow prospects to develop and depends on depth to cover “busts” as not all prospects will pan-out.
Isles need ten out of the fifteen players listed below to pan-out as top 9 forwards:
M. Moulson - J. Tavares - R. Strome
M. Grabner - F. Nielson - K. Okposo
N. Niederriter - B. Nelson - K Kabanov
A. Lee - J. Sundstrom - * See i) below, player not in system
B. Comeau - J. Bailey - R. Rakhshani
In addition, Isles need:
i) To draft one big, physical right shooting right wing who can fight, and skate and play with the stars.
ii) Need one of Nielson, Bailey, Nelson, Lee or Sundstrom to emerge as a 2nd line center (Strome excluded as he will be playing with JT and shifting from center to right wing).
*Note: At most six are now top 9 forwards (although not necessarily the prospect(s)/players favoured), leaving need for a minimum of four out of the remaining ten prospects to pan-out, plus the player identified above under i) currently not in system.
Need one top 12 forward plus a 13th and 14th forward (all centers listed can play left-wing):
M. Martin – C. Cizikas
J. DiBenedetto – D. Ullstrom
Theoret - C. Trivino
*Note: J. Sundstrom, B. Nelson and A. Lee would have the size and speed for 4th line if they did not make team as top nine forwards.
Need five top four defensemen from the list below.
# one (see a) below – T. Hamonic
M. Donovan - S. Mayfield
A. MacDononald (A. Macdonald can play either left or right side)
C. De Haan
a) Islanders need an all around number one defenseman who can skate and play physical, currently not in system
b) Two Defensemen are proven in A. MacDonald and T. Hamonic
c) Ideally, Islanders need S. Mayfield and one of T. Wishart, M. Donovan and C. De Haan to pan-out (I prefer Donovan’s game)
d) The sixth, seventh and eighth defensemen will come from depth, free agency or reasonably cheap via trade.
*Note: A Pedan has the size and speed to be a 3rd pairing D if he does not a pan-out as a top five defensemen.
**Note: R. Russo and A. Klementyev may pan-out as right bottom 3rd pairing or depth defensemen.
Need one of the following four goalies to be a bonafide # one:
*Note: Backup goalie acquired through depth or reasonably cheap via trade or free agency given league wide depth.