First of all, the New York Islanders did not play an NHL team last night. Nor was that an NHL game, at least one that counts. Let’s get that out of the way. The New Jersey Devils you saw last night were not the New Jersey Devils you’ll see on opening night. And second of all, it’s the preseason. Nothing matters and the surefire NHLers don’t really care about all this.
That being said, is Aatu Räty already an NHLer? The kid looks ready to me. He looks a little raw—mostly his skating—but he was, in my opinion, the best player on the ice last night.
I’d feel more comfortable with him working out his kinks at the NHL level than I would feel about most prospects. His talent is undeniable. More importantly, it’s natural. He just sees the ice and knows where the net is. I know, that sounds kind of dumb; they all see the ice and know where the net is! But he appears to have vision like Barzal and aim and wrist snap like Nelson. And this team has been clamoring for offense: Maybe he’s the spark.
I don’t know, you tell me: Am I getting too excited? Is this absurd? Am I doing the exact thing I chided you all for last week by reading too much into the preseason? It wouldn’t be the first time.
At the very least, it’s clear we made out like bandits with him falling to no. 52 overall.
- Recaps from last night: Räty wasn’t the only forward who joined the offensive party. [3 Takeaways] Semyon Varlamov got the win in his first full game. [Rapid Recap]
- Lane doesn’t give away much.
“In order to create a little more, our defense has to get active.”— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 7, 2022
More from Lane Lambert surrounding the team’s performance tonight ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/2DXirPGzbh
- Some experts believe Mathew Barzal could be a 90-100 point player with the right supporting cast. Realistically, if he’s with Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri for a while, I’ll take 80-some-odd points; that would be a dream. [The Athletic]
- Barzal is a New Yorker now—no, he’s a Long Islander and will be for another nine years. [amNY]
- Anders Lee admitted that it took some time to get back to his game coming back from his ACL injury, but now he feels “more comfortable.” [amNY]
- Nikita Soshnikov continues to make his case for the opening night roster as Lane Lambert indicated that the field of players eligible to make the roster has “expanded.” [Newsday]
- Andrew Gross talks about the Barzal contract and roster cuts and has a chat with Cory Schneider before answering your questions. [Island Ice Ep. 141]
- The Metropolitan Division figures to be the league’s tightest this season; only one team, the Philadelphia Flyers, is a sure thing to miss the playoffs, and they don’t even think they are. [THN]
- The Elmont-UBS Arena LIRR stop now operates in both directions. We don’t have to go to Queens Village anymore, not unless we want to. [Announcement | On the “Gamechanger”]
- Overnight Wednesday into Thursday, the Dallas Stars and Jason Robertson finally agreed to a contract, a four-year bridge deal that leaves him one year away from UFA à la Matthew Tkachuk. [NHL]
- New defenseman fast, make hockey good. Lather, rinse, repeat your take. [ESPN]
- The “best” one-two punches up the middle, “ranked.” Barzal and Brock Nelson come in way lower than they should, but this piece—like every lame Athletic article these days—looks only at cumulative numbers. This is just like the ESPN+ goalie tandem article I linked on Wednesday: Most of the highest-ranked duos are there because of one guy. [The Athletic]
- Speaking of Greg Wyshynski’s takes, he thinks his hometown team puts up 30 more points than last year and jumps the Rangers for third in the division, knocking out the Capitals. Alright, back to Puck Daddy with you. [E$PN+]
- And in the world of real, deserved outrage, Hockey Nova Scotia will cut off funds to Hockey Canada; this comes one day after Hockey Québec and the Ontario Hockey Federation made similar announcements, and also alongside numerous corporate sponsors pausing their relationship—in one case, a company terminated their relationship altogether. Hockey Canada’s leadership is amazingly incompetent.
- Onto some good stories: I don’t often include age, but Jaromir Jagr, 50(!), says he probably doesn’t have time to play this season. Not that he physically can’t; he’s just too busy. This guy, man—I hated him when I was a kid for playing for all our rivals, but now I just respect him. [NHL]
- And Johnny Oduya is back home in Stockholm. He has really made the most of the word “purpose.” [The Athletic]