The New York Islanders have been stuck at the bottom of the Atlantic for so long, is it time to escape the cellar? I think so. Here are some reasons why:
1. The Devils got worse: With the departure of their captain Parise, the Devils are nothing more than a couple of rookies, Travis Zajac, Ilya Kovalchuk, a good defense, and most importantly, old Martin Brodeur. The Devils are destined to be the worst in the Atlantic in my mind because of their lack of goaltending depth, and lack of scoring. Brodeur and Hedberg is a very bad goaltending duo, even if one of them is the NHL wins leader of all time.
2. The Islanders improved: With the additions of Brad Boyes, and Matt Carkner, the Isles got tougher, and scoring depth. Boyes has potential, if put with the right players, and Carkner is not afraid to bang bodies. Also, Hickey will help the defense because he is a defensemen with a high ceiling, and could be the next A-Mac. With giant Joe Finley, there will be a bully presence for the last d-pair.
3. New/Old Young Players: Donovan, Cizikas, Niederreiter, Strome, Reinhardt, Landry, Ullstrom, Finley, and Hickey could all make contributions to the team this season, and be some needed help for secondary scoring, and defensive depth.
4. Coaching: Brent Thompson did a great job in Bridgeport last season, and should be familiar with most of the players, helping Capuano with lines and placing for these young players like Landry, and Cizikas who played most of last season in the minors (yes, Cizikas spent some time on the Islanders as well). Doug Weight needs to introduce some fire and anger into this team, which he has, and the team sometimes lacks. You could see the fire in him when he argued some penalties last season, which were bad calls. Weight also needs to get Capuano to be angry once in a while, so he can motivate the players more efficiently.
5. Hope: The Islanders should be very hopeful that Michael Grabner can put away some of his breakaways, and put up 30 goal scorer numbers. The Islanders should also hope that new additions will fit in, and will play well, especially Boyes.
6 (Lastly). Experience: John Tavares is one year older. The team has been together for a while now, and each player should know their roles.
Hopefully, the Islanders can make the playoffs, and be out of the division cellar finally, which I think they can.