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Previewing the East: N.Y. Islanders

Isles add depth up the middle with signings of backup goalie, second-line center

Thursday, 07.31.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - DetroitRedWings.com
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Previewing the East: N.Y. Islanders
DETROIT – Ready for some hockey?

Sure you are.

The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the New York Islanders:

NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Coach: Jack Capuano

2013-14 INTANGIBLES
Last Year: 34-27-11, 79 points (14th in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Islanders: 1-1-1
5-on-5 Goals: 146 (10th in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency: 49-for-276, 17.8 percent (11th in Eastern Conference)

POINT RANGE
2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
Kyle Okposo RW 26 22 71 27 42 69 3 1 0 1
Thomas Vanek* LW 30 26 78 27 41 68 2 0 1 1
John Tavares C 23 28 59 24 42 66 3 1 2 3
Frans Nielsen C 30 55 80 25 33 58 3 1 0 1
Josh Bailey LW 24 175 77 8 30 38 2 0 2 2
 
IN THE CREASE
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Evgeni Nabokov 39 36 40 15 14 8 2.74 .905
vs. Red Wings
2 1 0 0 0.93 .958






2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Dec. 19 (at DET); Jan. 31 (at DET); Mar. 29 (at NYI).

ARRIVALS:  Forwards Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski, Cory Conacher, Jack Skille, Harry Zolniercyk and Kael Mouillerat, defenseman T.J. Brennan, and goalies Chad Johnson, David Leggio and Kevin Poulin.

DEPARTURES:  Defensemen Dan Boyle and Radek Martinek; and goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Finally, the Islanders think they have stability between the pipes with goalie Jaroslav Halak, who signed a four-year, $18 million contract in May. The Isles have won 30-34 games in the past three full seasons. Meanwhile, the veteran netminder posted 29 wins with a 2.25 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in 52 games with St. Louis and Washington last season. Halak is a reliable commodity, who has enjoyed 25-wins or better in each of the past four full seasons, which is a definite upgrade on Long Island.

SEASON SCOPE: The Islanders, who are getting ready for their farewell season at Nassau Coliseum, bolstered their offense by adding a pair of speedy and highly-skilled wingers when they signed UFAs Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin. The two veteran forwards know each other very well. They’ve been friends for years and were teammates in Toronto. Grabovski likely fits in the No. 2 center hole behind John Tavares, while Kulemin will probably play left wing on the second forward line.

GM Garth Snow has said that he likes the team’s depth and points to the signings of AHL veterans Cory Conacher and T.J. Brennan. The Isles are expected to give Brennan, who produced 25 goals for the Toronto Marlies last season, an opportunity to help the power play while becoming an NHL regular.

The Islanders will move into Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015-16.

2014-15 EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEWS
Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)




SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80