The Islanders have been trying to add some more veteran presence for their young players to be mentored by, which should help the growth process, but they will need a little bit more flash and dash in the 2012 season to solidify their status as an up-and-coming club.
Of course, relying on an injury-prone goaltender, with 10 years still left on his current deal, to continue to work towards being your franchise backstopper may be the biggest downfall to the club these days, since there have been no signs of getting back to 100% for long stretches of time.
Nevertheless, the Islanders still are making process and they might be a team to keep in the back of your mind for some quality bargain talent.
|John Tavares||75||Mark Streit||50||Al Montoya||45|
|Kyle Okposo||65||Travis Hamonic||40||Rick DiPietro||20|
|Matt Moulson||55||Andrew MacDonald||30|
|P.A. Parenteau||50||Mike Mottau||20|
|Blake Comeau||50||Milan Jurcina||15|
|Michael Grabner||45||Mark Eaton||10|
|Nino Niederreiter||35||Calvin de Haan||25||Evgeni Nabokov||25|
Pool Worthy Forwards (Inside the top 160, 40 points)
I believe the only thing that is stopping John Tavares from truly breaking out in the 2012 season will be the help he is surrounded with. I think there is some quality talent around him, don't get me wrong, but he doesn't currently have the same kind of service that another former number one pick in Tampa Bay is getting in his early seasons with the Lightning. Tavares is due to move up the ranks for scoring, but I can't see him outpacing some of the other future superstars.
One of the players that is set to make an impact in 2012 will be Kyle Okposo, who is coming back into focus after an injury-plagued 2011 season. Assuming that he is 100% healthy at the start of the season, I think he is ready to set some new career highs in points this year.
Newcomer Brian Rolston may be able to get some ice-time with the Islanders, but I'm not necessarily confident that it will translate into points in the 2012 season. Rolston will be very useful in a number of situations, but whether or not he hits the scoresheet is another question all together.
Pool Worthy Defensemen (Inside the top 80, 25 points)
On defense, the Islanders will be hoping for the triumphant and dominant return of Mark Streit, who missed the entire 2011 season with a major shoulder injury. It sounds like he should be good to go, so the Islanders will be working hard to get him to shake off all that early rust and get back into game shape before too long. If he can do that, he'll be a fine fantasy defenseman again this year.
Young defenseman, Travis Hamonic, made a big impression on everyone at the end of the 2011 season, which should make for a grand entrance for the 2012 year. I think his play at the end of the year, combined with a lack of big time pressure of a relatively unsuccessful club will help him grow his NHL game to another level this season.
Pool Worthy Goalies (Inside the top 40, 25 points)
The crease on Long Island is a muddled up mess going into the 2012 season, which really looks poorly upon the three goalies that they have ready to go for the year. Rick DiPietro, the franchise goalie, continues to be a question mark for the club, while his replacement, Al Montoya, will likely get some pretty good looks, as a guy who signed a new deal with the club in the Summer and then we cannot forget Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov, forced to play out the contract that he signed with the Red Wings near the end of last season, will either be a guy that plays for the Islanders or gets dealt to a team as a bargaining chip. Tough to say.
Pool Worthy Rookies
The Islanders are still growing and picking well in the draft, so they shouldn't be short on good rookie prospects just yet. Between forward Nino Niederreiter and defenseman Calvin de Haan, Long Island should be rich in youth again in the 2012 season. Both players are good offensive talents and could be good for enough points to make your selection worth while. How well do you think the Islanders will do overall?