When Islander fans look at the current state of the team, they see a lot of inexperience and lack of leadership. I see it as well and I am as big as an Islanders fan as the next person.
As I was looking around the internet for ideas on what to write about, I came across an article on tsn.ca
that shows what the Islanders may likely do this offseason and look like for next year.
However, I want to take it a step further and look at the players they suggest the team goes after. Its a pretty good list so buckle up!
Lets start on defense, where Mark Streits' rights were recently traded to the Philadelphia Flyers.
With Streit gone, the Islanders need a player who can step in and eat up minutes.
One player that was mentioned in the article was Jordan Leopold.
Jordan is the type of player who at 32 can fit in nicely with this young team for a couple of years. Slotting him with Visnovsky, not only adds leadership on the blue line but he is adept at playing defensive angles. He also has the ability to contribute offensively from time to time.
Another name that was mentioned in the article was Long Islands' very own Rob Scuderi. Rob, now 34, would slide nicely in with Visnovsky. He has played every game the last few years and would be a valuable addition to the Islanders.
Of those names on the potential free agent list I see both Leopold and Scuderi getting multi-year deals. They are both great leaders on the ice and would bring a great deal of playoff experience to the Islanders.
Let's be honest, every player listed in this blog can log a lot of minutes. There is no question in my mind that these players can play over fifteen minutes a game.
Another name mentioned in the article was Ian White (below). If he can stay healthy he is a very solid player and brings loads of experience to the blueline. At 29, he is still in his prime and may have not reached his ceiling.
Another name that was mentioned was Toni Lydman. (Lower right). Lydman, is an aging player but can definitely be a valuable asset to the team. He can also eat up a lot of minutes. It is worth noting that Lydman and Visnovksy both played together is Anahiem. If they were to team up again on the Island then they already have chemistry.
White and Lydman both would warrant reasonable contracts at a max of two years.
Now lets turn our attentions over to the offense as there are some names that are very interesting in the article. The Islanders need to be a better offensive team. The Islanders know they can not go into to next season with a roster full of rookies and I believe they won't be foolish to do so.
Some of the names I will mention, you will turn your heads and say WHAT!? All of these players whether they are superstars are or not are certainly talented.
Remember something else, Nino Niederreiter, is not a lock to return to the team after his agent demanded a trade during the season. So time will tell with that situation.
Lets get started with the offense. The first player to be mentioned is Patrik Elias and folks he needs no explanation on why I think he would be a great fit for this team. He is a team first player and has won numerous Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils. Oh and he can still light the lamp. To be fair, I am not sure if he would leave the Devils franchise at this point. Nonetheless, he would be a great option on this young team.
For the remaining free agent players listed I am going to group them because to me they are similar players who have the same type skills. They are Clark MacCarther, Michael Ryder, Nathan Horton, Ryan Clowe and Dustin Penner.
All of these players are top notch players who are talented and they know how to win. They have all been on winning teams before. Their leadership and experience would be invaluable to such a young team.
Lastly, lets talk about the goaltending. First off, lets set the record straight, Rick DiPietro will no longer be a part of this team for the long run. I see too many people on Twitter and Facebook thinking Garth might keep him around. Let's be honest, DP will likely either be bought out or just be the richest hockey player ever to play in the minor leagues. His future with the team was sealed when they put him on waivers during the season.
Now to the options for goaltending. The article states that the team could explore trades for Ryan Miller, or Roberto Luongo. Both are great goaltenders and know what it takes to win big games. On the other hand, the article goes on to mention Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Smith, Ray Emery, or even possibly Jose Thoedore.
All of these goalies would be great additions to the Islanders. The question becomes, will Evgeni Nabokov re-sign for one year which he and the Islanders are open to doing and if that happens, then what?
Nabokov is a very talented goalie and helped the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Kevin Poulin, who backed up Nabokov, saw very limited action and when he did he wasn't the greatest between the pipes, Nabokov had all the wins expect two. Having a back-up who only wins two games is not the right way to win games in the league.
Personally, I like the idea of any of the goalies mentioned above to give Nabokov a breather and then take over as full time when the team moves to Brooklyn.
Stay tuned, the draft is around the corner, and so is free agency. Let the fun begin!