Projected Lines: New York Islanders
The team that finished 9th in the Eastern Conference is bringing back a similar roster to last year, but while similar they have still improved. The question marks for this team will be the impact of the younger players on the roster like Barzal, Beauvillier and Pulock. Goaltending for this team looks like it could be a 1A/1B situation, and I’m not sure they even know whether it will be Greiss or Halak starting more games. I don’t think either can be considered starting goalies.
L, C, R
This the area in which the isles managed to improve. The trade of Strome for Eberle is an instant win for the isles. They get a probable 30 goal, 60 point winger for a high pick who has underperformed since his arrival in long island. That first line of Lee-Tavares-Eberle will be one of the best in the league this season. The addition of Matthew Barzal is the wildcard for the islanders. If he does as well as I think he will, the isles will have done enough to make the playoffs. It’s unclear where he fits, but Ho-Sang will get a shot this year to play a lot of games.
The defensive core here is average at best, limping after the loss of Travis Hamonic. I think it was still wise, as Ryan Pulock the former 15th overall pick had a monster year in the AHL and is ready for full time NHL action. I think they start him in the top 4 and hope he settles in quickly, because that 3rd pair was solid last year for the isles.
One of these goalies will emerge as the starter, and I have to give the edge to Greiss, as Halak spent some time in the AHL last year, where he played fantastic. Fresh off a 3 year extension, this is Greiss’ chance to prove he can be a starting goalie full time.
Thanks for reading, and hope to hear some feedback regarding the Isles upcoming season.