New York, NY (NYSportscene.com) – New York Sportscene contributing writer Dan Mount will offer his outlook on the 2014-25 season for the Rangers, Islanders and Devils in this three part series.
Part 2 – New York Islanders 2014-15 Season Outlook
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Last year: 30-35-10 (Last in Metropolitan Division, missed playoffs)
Who’s in: F Mikhail Grabovksi, F Nikolai Kulemin, D Johnny Boychuk, D Grant Leddy, G Chad Johnson, G Jaroslav Halak, F Cory Conacher
Who’s out: G Anders Nilssson, F Jack Skille, G Evgeni Nabakov
Goalies: This was the main issue for the Isles last season as Nabakov regressed from a renaissance year. Halak and Johnson will fight in out for the number one job. If the goalies can get better, the Islanders will challenge for a playoff spot.
Forwards: John Tavares will be returning from injury, and looking to get back to his scoring way. Grabovski and Kulemin are being asked a lot after good years in Washington and Toronto. Brock Nelson had a solid game against Carolina in the opener. Michael Grabner is banged up, but could be a factor when he returns.
Defense: The blueline looks a lot more solid with the acquisition of Boychuk and Leddy. Lubomir Visnovsky is hurt and the other defensemen like Travis Hamonic will need to chip in.
Coaching: Jack Capuano will need a season more like the lockout-shortened year if they want to give the last season in Nassau Coliseum the playoffs. He’ll have a mix of younger players and vets to try to get into the postseason.
What to expect: If the goaltending and defense can gel, I expect them to fight for a playoff spot. Halak and Johnson will be under a lot of pressure to perform.
Prediction: 5th in Metropolitan, miss playoffs.
Dan Mount is the editor of the Hockey Sentinel. He also covers the Rangers, Devils and Islanders for NYSportScene.com.