Dragoneye's blog

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Moulson – Vanek Trade Analysis

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The trade is interesting.  Two players that score nearly the same amount of goals on a yearly basis, Moulson 30+ and Vanek, also 30 +, possibly 40.  So, on a good year, Vanek will score more than Moulson.  Most people believe Moulson’s stats were padded by playing with John Tavares. Vanek has the advantage of being a better 2 way player that can create as well as finish.  He’s already proven both skills in his 3 games with the Islanders.  He’ll be working with a great player in JT, so I’d count on some good numbers from Vanek moving forward, which only increases his value both monetarily, and in trade.

Is Moulson a 20 goal scorer without JT?  30?  He’s more likely a 20 goal scorer, but he’s got the rest of this season to prove everyone wrong and dial in a huge 30 + goal/season payday.  At best, he’ll earn Thomas Vanek money (7.14 million cap hit per season).

Who gets the credit for this team?

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Who gets the credit for this team? Here’s a quick list. Missing tons I know. Just trying to frame things a bit.

Charles Wang: First in command, sets the deck the GM is forced to play from. Every dollar spent or not spent comes from him.

Garth Snow: Extremely limited budget for signing strong free agents in their prime, lady luck shines in 2012-2013 as he uses waiver wire to secure 4 players in the week before the season started, allowing some high draft picks to mature. Older home grown players starting to mature – Bailey, Hamonic, Martin. He’s had a bunch of bad pickups in the past (Rolston, Pandolpho, Jurcina, Eaton, Mottau, etc…). No more DP. Reasoner finally sitting. The team is finally doing the right thing for the team, and the players have responded.

Séries éliminatoires de la Coupe Stanley

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If your like me, you’ve found yourself checking the standings all day long, pondering the possibilities of a 6th place finish for the Islanders. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s exciting to get a chance to see these players earn a playoff birth and see what they are capable of in NHL playoff hockey.

I believe the reason of the team’s current success and consequent tear into the playoffs can be attributed to these three guys: Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, and Colin McDonald. When they teamed up to be the teams third line, they hit and provided the secondary scoring the team needed for so long. The team started winning, and the 2nd line started to gel as well (Bailey, Nielsen, Okposo). It’s amazing what some good competition will do. Taking DiPietro and Marty reasoner out of the lineup were significant steps to the recent success as well. The team didn’t do anything at the trade deadline, but these additions by subtractions were important.

10 More Games to Go

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The team is in heart attack mode.  It’s a mad dash to the finish line and, although the team has played more games than most others in the hunt for the final two playoff spots, they are right in the thick of things for the first time in the John Tavares era.  Speaking of JT, where is he these days?  I know he is still scoring goals, but he needs to be more visible.  Matt Moulson and Brad Boyes could also use something to get them going.  Even with some help these days, the Isles will go the way the first line goes.

Unfair:

Southeast division is looking like the top team is going to get a bonus, that being allowed to play in the NHL playoffs even if they have less points than the real 8 seed, like they do right now.  BTW, Isles would be in 6th if not for this injustice.  Glad to hear they are doing away with it.  The new format is as follows:

 

Win over Caps, .500, other notes

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I took my daughter, wife, and uncle to the game today, my first game of the lockout season.  It was a great day at the coliseum and was full of youngsters for the afternoon start.  Happily, the team didn’t lay an egg like it did on President’ day (7-0 L, Flyers) and treated the fans to a close game.   That is, until they blew the game wide open in the second half of the third period.   The team is still struggling for consistency, but they’ve really come a long way since their 5 game losing streak.  They’ve reached .500 for the season, and that is a good stepping stone   They’re relevant in the playoff race.  Not exactly where you prefer them to be (out but looking in), but better than fighting for lottery pics.

Untitled

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Trying hard and giving effort are important.  It is more than important on Long Island, as the team doesn’t invest in established talent and has been going with low level aging UFA’s and younger, cheaper players.   The Islanders don’t stand much of a chance unless their effort level is 100%.

Effort is expected and required when you are a professional and pulling down hundreds of thousands of dollars.  You have to expect your team give a good effort.  The Islanders have been called out in several games this year by their coach as being passengers and not putting forth the effort.  Is it the coach’s job to get that effort from his players?  He’s walking a fine line there because many assume it’s a reflection of the coaching staff when the team plays poorly.  Is Coach Jack throwing himself under the bus?

Don’t Look Back

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From the opening shift of the 7-0 blowout to the Flyers, the team didn’t have it.  In what unfortunately is becoming standard form, Moulson lost his man (Giroux) on the back-check and Giroux scored.  To sum things up, I feel, regretfully,  like I lost 2 hours of my life.  It’s the kind of loss where as a fan you feel like the team owes you something afterwards.  It also begs the question – Where was the motivation?.. Where was the tongue lashing between periods by the next in line Doug Weight?

JT Bombs Crush Devils 5 – 1

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The main story of the game was John Tavares netting his 4th career hat trick to propel the Islanders to their second consecutive win against a divisional opponent.  The sub plot was “Moose” Hedberg standing on his head again in net for the first period and a half.  I was concerned the Isles would never figure him out when the walls came crashing down and the Isles had 3 goals on the board by the end of the second period.

I had some thoughts while watching the game:

JT is our offensive savior, but he still needs to work on his D and turnovers, specifically leaving the D zone and entering the offensive zone.  .  He probably feels he needs to do it all himself.  If he can polish his D game more he’s going to be unstoppable.

Shuffling

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2 points is still 2 points, but I think we all know that a shootout win is not the same as an overtime win is not the same as a regulation win.  Perhaps I’m upset with the system here.  There are better ways to allot the points for all of these scenarios.  That being said, the Islanders pulled the 2 points out of their hat vs. the Rangers.  It felt good watching a goalie play us and have an off game.

Too often the team makes goalies look like the second coming of Patrick Roy.  Now, having said that, The team plays the Devils today, where Johan “Ken Dryden” Hedberg will be manning the pipes, fresh off a shutout in his last game vs. the Isles.  The Devils play a boring game, so hope the Islanders do all of two things, either score or hit or fight.  I know that’s three things.  They’ll need to do all three to make me happy.  They don’t need to be in that order either.

Cookie Cutter Season

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Hot start, optimism abound.  short lived.  Enter losing streak.  Extended bad luck.  Bad calls.  et al.  ad nauseum.

Isles Trade For The Ghost Of Tim Thomas

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Isles trade for the rights to Tim Thomas, currently suspended from the NHL as he is focusing, in his own words, on family, friends  and faith.  Don’t worry Isles fans, Rick DiPietro will still be the backup on the club.  Unless something cosmically profound happens, the move was to bring the team into compliance with the salary cap minimum.  The best part for the thrifty team is that they don’t have to pay him as he is suspended, don’t have to give up anything if he doesn’t play (likely), and get to enjoy being compliant with NHL’s policy of minimum team salary requirements.

I hate the move.  I’d much rather they overpay to get real NHL talent on the team, rather than playing games to circumvent the salary cap floor for another season.  I don’t want to buy into the theory that this sort of move is good for the team.  It’s time to move on from the cap minimum…  It’s being proven that it’s impossible to win anything but lottery picks can come at the cap minimum.

Isles Snap Shot

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The Isles are coming off a game against the Devils that by all account, they should have won.  They had ample power play time, yet Johan Hedberg stood on his head and robbed them the entire game for a 3 – 0 victory.  Throw in a bogus penalty against Brian Strait that basically cost them the game, and there you have it.

Line shift:

The team is moving Kyle Okposo off the first line.  My first response is, what will grumpy fans like myself have to complain about now?  It seems a no-brainer.  The line hasn’t clicked yet, and if they can re-kindle the Grabner-Nielsen-Okposo magic form the dark ages, all will be forgiven.  At the least, Okposo will be with some defensive minded players.  It also give Brad Boyes a chance to earn Parenteau money when he leaves the Island next summer as a free agent resigns with the team.

Cruising

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The Islanders have dashed to the front of the pack  in the race to 48 (games).  Actually, it’ s more like a race to 56 points, which is what many feel is the over/under number needed to reach the playoffs.  Not many pegged the team to be where they are now, but with a history of quick starts and lengthy losing streaks shortly thereafter, it’s hard to say what is there and where they are going.  Considering 5 players on the roster were acquired during the shortened preseason, and add in several homegrown rookies, the team is definitely doing well to be where they are.  Could they be entering some uncharted, positive territory and maturing as a team?

Untitled

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Just when you think you have this New York Islanders team figured out, they go out and do something crazy.  They basically did everything right in this match, against a team you’d give them little chance to crush.  This game, on national TV no less, saw the Islanders steamroll the Penguins 4-1 and they did little wrong.  There weren’t many low spots for the team.  They did a good job defensively, clearing rebounds and getting the goaltender good looks.  Nabokov was strong in net, and even Marty Reasoner got in on the action with an assist.

This is an important stretch for the Isles in the race to 48, and if they can pull off a point they’ll have had a successful road trip.

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Identity Crisis

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So, who are these 2013 New York Islanders?  So far, they appear to be an offensive minded team.  They lead their division in goals with 18 in 5 games.  They score in bunches.  Are they an offensive juggernaut?

Well, time to slow down a bit.  It’s been great to see the team get some secondary and tertiary scoring.   You’ve got players starting to make names for themselves, such as David Ullstrom and recent waiver wire acquisition Keith Aucoin.  They’ve been fortunate on several goals, but sometimes hard work and being in the right place at the right time is perceived as luck.  On the flip side you’ve got a first line that hasn’t quite gelled but has put up some numbers.

Untitled

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The Islanders, fresh off of their 4-3 win over Tampa Bay, are in need of an identity upgrade.  They need to prove that the movement is working, that staying the course and allowing the youngsters to grow within the system is actually working.  A couple of good indicators of that this season have been on display already.

First, the team needs to hold onto leads.  This is common sense, but an issue the team has had for many years.  It’s a sign of youth, and good teams don’t give away games.  Every team needs to hold leads, and my heart is still in my throat after the 3 goal meltdown vs. Tampa put the game in imminent danger.

The second thing is letting up after goals and allowing immediate payback.  That is the fastest way to kill momentum and is not the kind of identity you want as a team.  If the Islanders are indeed maturing as a team, we’ll see less and less of these two flaws.  If not, expect some crazy rides this year.

Isles snooze 2-1 vs. Devs

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The game was mostly a snooze-fest.  There were some offensive moments in toward the end of the second and in the third period for the home Islanders,, but I think you can chalk this game up to the Devils being the Devils, which is good for them considering the loss of their captain Zach Parise this past offseason.

The Islanders have had some nice games against the Devs at the Coliseum in recent years, but this one started as an extension of their team scrimmage vs. Bridgeport on Wednesday.  Basically, nothing exciting.  That’s how the Devils play though.  They wear you down and then capitalize on your mistakes.  The Zubrus goal was off a poor line change, and the Clarkson goal came as the Isles were basking in the afterglow of Travis Hamonic’s goal.  I feel like Islanders need to improve in their shifts after scoring goals.  This obviously goes back a ways, but I had a bad feeling about that shift directly after they scored.

 

23 man roster set, waiver explosion, season opener

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The Isles have now set their 23 man roster.  The list excludes Josh Bailey and Jesse Joensuu (injuries) and Lubomir Visnovskly (suspension). It’s hard to imagine what the team would have looked like had there not been those 4 (Aucoin, Finley, Hickey, Strait) waiver wire pickups and the Radek Martinek signing.  That’s 5 very recent additions to the 23-man roster.  The Islanders must be preparing for the shortened season and more intense game schedule.

Isles claim Thomas Hickey off waivers from Los Angeles Kings

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Isles go dumpster-diving with another waiver wire pickup, this time by the name of 2007 1st round draft choice Thomas Hickey.  Is he better than Joe Finley?  He’s certainly cut from a different mold than the 6′ 8″ monster Finley, at around 6′ 200 lbs.  These guys are both unestablished AHL’ers with little NHL experience, but it appears Hickey has more upside than Finley.

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Islanders claim Joe Finley off waivers from Buffalo Sabres

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Islanders claim Joe Finley off waivers from Buffalo Sabres. Good size – 6′ 8″ 252 pounds and will drop the gloves.

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/joe_finley/

Talent Analysis

At 6’8″ and 250 pounds, Finley stands as one of the largest players in all of professional hockey. Although his skating was somewhat of an issue at the time he was drafted, he has improved in that area to the extent that he would be a capable skater in the NHL. Injuries have stunted Finley’s development in recent seasons, with the Washington Capitals electing to pass on re-signing the big defenseman. Assuming his future is at defense, Finley is most likely to be effective as a defensive defenseman with some toughness.

A fight vs. Isles Matt Martin
1/14/2012

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