With the season hitting that time and the holiday roster freeze now in effect, people are starting to warm up for the trade rumor stage of the season: Who are the potential rentals to sell, what market demand will there be for their services, and does that demand equal a price worth selling? A little early for all that, but it does remind me to do another roster matrix/depth chart soon. [Update: That roster matrix is now posted here.]
A quick preview of that matrix: The Islanders have just 10 bodies on the NHL roster (active or IR) who are signed for next season (4F, 5D, 1G), totaling roughly $23.4 million in cap hit (including the Yashin and Witt buyouts). However, they have eight RFAs (including Josh Bailey, currently in the AHL) that will boost both figures. And they have other existing contracts like Nino Niederreiter, Rhett Rakhshani, and Calvin de Haan, who might make the roster in 2011-12. That's the quick sum; more on that later. Meanwhile:
I was wrong about Matt Martin's hit on Vernon Fiddler. Upon video review (on my DVR), it wasn't the hit I was thinking of, and while the two-game suspension is harsh for a first offender (at any level), it's consistent with the precedent they've been using this year for lateral/blind-side head shots. Now the Isles have a lineup decision for Wednesday and Thursday (TB, @NJD),
- In a WJC warmup, de Haan (1 goal) and Casey Cizikas's (thundering hit) trounced Nino's Switzerland, and Eric Hornick has a few great links about the two Canadians.
- Good Q&A addition from Newsday's Arthur Staple with Josh Bailey in Bridgeport. [article version here]
- Official site had more from Nathan Lawson on his NHL debut.
- Brent Sutter continues to rave about ol' Tim Jackman in Calgary.
- Did you see Glenn Healy's shot at Milbury on HNIC? Wow. [FanShot discussion - video link...about 6 min. in]
The Islanders moved up in one media ranking. They're still in 30th in our calculated Real Power Ranking -- but the win and shootout loss has moved their power number up.
Media Rankings Survey
Between Burnside and Portzline, we're back to hack one-liners this week:
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
||An early Christmas present for the Isles, beating Anaheim for their only win so far this month.|
||Hard to imagine there's not a lot of support to build this hapless organization an new building, isn't it? [Editor's note: Dear Aaron, you really don't know what you're talking about. You might as well be discussing Bulgarian politics. Best stick to the on-ice stuff.]
|ESPN||29||30||No truth to the rumor the Islanders will pick six random fans to start their next game. Not that the results could be any worse for a team that has won twice in their past 23 outings. A disgrace. [Editor's note: As if you had to check, of course that is Burnside's comment. Amazing the difference when Pierre LeBrun does the write-up vs. the pot-shot artist from Atlanta, innit?]
|Sportsnet (Brophy)||30||30||The hapless Islanders turn the crease over to 27-year-old rookie Nathan Lawson who looks pretty good until allowing three shots in the shootout in a 4-3 loss to Phoenix.|
|30||30||Not a lot of reason to get excited about the Isles either, but young defencemen Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic are playing well and playing a lot|
As with idioms in other languages, snark only works when you get the background right.
NHL Power Rankings
These are updated through Sunday's games and based in part on strength of schedule factors. Formula and calculations courtesy of our own ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles. Explanation of how he does it is in the original post. If you have any questions about it, leave them in comments and he'll likely answer.
For reference, last week's -- where Phoenix was 4th and Anaheim 18th -- can be found here. Anaheim stayed level despite losing to the Isles; Phoenix took a hit thanks to their rough trip through the metro area.
I'm charging this whole thing to the Underhill's bill.