Well, these next ten weeks or so may be brutal. So to take my mind off the playoff party that we were not invited to, I started to think about who on the current roster should stay and who should go.
First, the No Brainers:
It gets a little more complicated after that.
Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey - Of the rest of the players on the roster, I think these three are the least likely to move on. Say what you want about Grabner's frustrations (all swedish, no finnish!), the guy has 54 goals the past two seasons and is a threat at all times. Giving up on him as part of a package for something less than Rick Nash would be a mistake. The same goes for Okposo. It has pretty much become cliche to say "well, Okposo is never going to be that consistent 30 goal scorer we wanted." Oh well, he's a solid role player and is a perfect complementary forward. He's as streaky as they come, but I think KO is worth keeping around. Bailey is a lot tougher to judge than his two pals. His flashes are a lot shorter, albeit flashier than KO's, but the jury is still out there on the 22 year old (will be 23 at the start of the season). Personally, I think Bailey is expendable because of the talent we have waiting in the wings. But once again, I wouldn't be surprised if Bails was moved that he didn't turn into a 50 point guy on a good team. That being said, he will most likely get a chance to finish out his contract. At that point he will have played 5 (!!!!) NHL seasons, so we should know if he's worth it.
PA Parenteau - I think I can speak for Islander Nation when I say, PA coming back would be muy bueno. However, if someone throws a Wisniewski type deal at the Hull native, he will be taking his talents there. I think he wants to be here so I think the odds are still in our favor, but we need to prepare for the worst here.
Andrew MacDonald - I think MacDonald is a solid bottom pair guy with some offence to boot, but I also think with guys like Matt Donovan, Calvin de Haan, and Aaron Ness in the AHL, MacDonald could be valuable in a package to bring in a big name here. A-Mac is a warrior and I respect his game, but I can absolutely see him somewhere else.
Nino Niederreiter - I only left Nino off the no brainers for one reason. I think he is about 99% to stay, but I would love to see Garth dangle him in front of Scott Howson's face at the draft. Nino played with the Blue Jackets' 4th overall pick in 2010, Ryan Johansen. The two of them flourished together in the Pacific Northwest and that is a good bargaining chip in a trade if we had to include Nino in a package for say, Rick Nash? Anyways I know it's a pipe dream, but if Nash wants out that bad and the price is too steep for most teams, well the Islanders should not be afraid to maybe take a chance on trading away il Nino. I would like to reiterate, pipe dream.
Marty Reasoner - I don't know what it is about me, but I am a sucker for Reasoner's game. I have always loved the way he plays when the other team has the puck, and I don't think he's a liability at any point. Obviously his skill set is not there, but he wins draws, is willing to block shots, and has hockey sense. I think that he is 50/50 to return. But on a good team, Reasoner would be valuable as a 4th line center. So, I wouldn't be surprised if he is swapped for a low pick or even bought out this summer, but I'd like to see him given another chance to be the 4th line center next year.
Dylan Reese - I like Reese's game. I think he's a perfect 6/7 guy. I liken him to Jack Hillen and Freddy Meyer and think that of the three Reese is the most impressive. His speed makes up for the lack of finish on his game, and he is not going to cry over being a healthy scratch for handful of games at a time. If the rest of the NHL was paying attention, Reese will get scooped up on a one-way deal for more money than he's worth. But if we can hold onto him, we should.
Not even going to touch the DiPietro sitch.
Alright, hope you enjoyed.