Monday, August 25, 2014

2015 Pool Projections: Long Island

As long as John Tavares is healthy and on the ice for the New York Islanders, the team remains one of the more intriguing squads in the NHL, even in a hockey pool sense. No matter how "crazy" the ownership/management situation seems to be, it is undeniable that this team has improved over the last few seasons, thanks in large part to Tavares, but building around him has gone well too.

Injuries were the biggest problem for the Islanders in 2014, losing their best players at the Sochi Olympics and then numerous goaltending injury concerns, which turned a promising year before the Olympic Break into a tailspin into the off-season.

Assuming all goes well on the injury front for the Islanders, I think the moves that were made, will make this team into a wild card contender and I think that could translate into some reasonable hockey pool numbers from this team.  I believe the projections will speak to that as well.

Forwards 14/15 Proj Cap Hit Defense 14/15 Proj Cap Hit Goaltenders 14/15 Proj Cap Hit
John Tavares 85 5.500 Lubomir Visnovsky 35 4.750 Jaroslav Halak 75 4.500
Kyle Okposo 70 2.800 Thomas Hickey 30 0.675 Chad Johnson 20 1.300
Frans Nielsen 60 2.750 Calvin de Haan 25 1.967 Kevin Poulin 5 0.650
Josh Bailey 45 3.300 Travis Hamonic 20 3.857
Michael Grabner 45 3.000 Brian Strait 15 0.775
Mikhail Grabovski 40 5.000 Matt Carkner 5 1.500
Ryan Strome 40 0.863
Brock Nelson 30 0.900
Nikolai Kulemin 20 4.188
Cal Clutterbuck 15 2.750
Eric Boulton 15 0.650
Colin McDonald 15 0.638
Casey Cizikas 15 1.000
Matt Martin 10 1.000
TOTAL 55.516
Anders Lee 30 0.851 Griffin Reinhart 20 0.863
Cory Conacher 25 0.600 Kevin Czuczman 10 0.925
Jack Skille 10 0.750 Matt Donovan 10 0.827
Mike Halmo 5 0.864 Aaron Ness 5 0.827
Johan Sundstrom 5 0.770
Harry Zolnierczyk 5 0.650
John Persson 5 0.627

First Round Picks

This team has the potential to have two opening round picks this sesaon, given a 24-team hockey pool draft, like last year.  The given pick is Tavares, but if there is more belief in the hockey pool, that the Islanders could be a wild card playoff team, then that means Jaroslav Halak will have to be playing at a rate where his points on the year will be good enough for being picked early in the draft.

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

If Halak is worthy of being a 1st round pick in the draft, then that, to me, makes him the most intriguing player on this Islanders team.  Halak has bounced around in the NHL, usually failing to usurp a position as the number one keeper on a team, be it Montreal, St. Louis or Washington.  I think the fact that the Islanders have only signed on career back-ups behind Halak is the best sign that the 29-year old Slovak will have himself a career year.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

Looking at the Islanders on paper, they are likely going to throw the kitchen sink at this season, trying to push for that playoff spot.  They have acquired some more depth up front, which could translate into some more pool points from Long Island.  Kyle Okposo will try to show the rest of the league that his breakout year was not a fluke, Frans Nielsen should quietly go about a good season, while Josh Bailey and Michael Grabner will attract some attention from us poolies as well, possibly breaking out more than their initial projections.  If you're looking for some good depth players, this could be a good place to look.

Other Pool Worthy Defense

The defense does give a cause for concern, especially since their number one guy, Lubomir Visnovsky, is coming off a concussion-marred year, where he was still having some problems at the end of April.  I don't think he'll be quite the same, but he will definitely give it a go.  Thomas Hickey has finally came around from being a junior standout to an everyday defender in the NHL and his talent will earn him some points.  Calvin de Haan is still waiting for his every day job, but he came pretty close in 2014, playing in 51 games.  This could be his year.

Goaltending Situation

Halak is on top, no question, so the debate rages on... who will back him up?  The Islanders went out and signed Chad Johnson, who had a great year in Boston and they will give a shot to Kevin Poulin, who played last season on the island.  Johnson will have the upper hand going into camp, but I wouldn't count out seeing Poulin at some point during the year.  Johnson will be a decent back-up option, if you missed out on the starters.

Team To Pick From Late?

The Islanders may see some picks late, more so by default.  The big guys will go relatively early, but there should be some guys left in the depth positions for you to choose from.  I think this team goes all out in the 2015 season and they might surprise with some points in unexpected places.  Take a chance.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

Salary CapThe Islanders have no one left to sign and their projected roster does have 23 players on it currently, although the goaltending race may need to be clipped, since they will probably want to hold seven defenders.  However, for our purposes today, we'll call it according to this 23-man roster and the distinction for this team is that they are still a budget franchise.  Only $5.5 million above the salary cap floor, the Islanders are in no danger of going in the red financially.


It sounds like Visnovsky is clear of his concussion and is ready to get back to it.  The Islanders should be clear of any injury concerns going into training camp.

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