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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  - Managing Editor | 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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89