Editors Note: This article was written by Rob Jentz, who will be joining the staff of Isles Talk Real soon. He is 23 years old from West Babylon, NY. He’s been an Islanders fan all his life and really loves what they’re building here for this team.
The Islanders had a great run last year led by a fast offense, solid defense; good goaltending. Perhaps the one question mark for the Islanders this season will be the goaltending. How will 38 year old Evgeni Nabokov handle a full workload of an 82 game season? How many games will he be able to start? That’s the question for the Islanders. Yes, it takes offense and a good defense to win but as we saw last year, it takes a solid goalie. Another successful season for the Isles depends a lot on its goaltending. For me, Nabokov will be fine and will be solid this season. It’s the guy or guys behind him that will have to be reliable to be able to give Nabby the rest he needs. That would be Kevin Poulin.
The young 23 year old Poulin has been solid for the Islanders in the little time that he has been here. This year is crucial for him, as it will probably determine the future of Kevin Poulin in an Isles jersey. Not only is his play as backup this year important to the Isles making the playoffs , it’s also an opportunity to prove that he can be the number one goalie here for a long time. In the 5 games that he appeared in last year he was just 1-3 with a 3.02 goals against. Those numbers aren’t eye popping but they’re also not horrible. Poulin will have to be good this year to make sure that he stays here for the future especially with another 23 year old goalie pushing his way up in Anders Nilsson.
Big( 6 foot 5 ) Anders Nilsson is another top prospect for the Islanders. He’s a tall goalie who covers a lot of room in the crease. Anders will begin the season up in Bridgeport and will get an opportunity to play every day over there which he has not really had the chance to do. Being a number one goalie and playing every day will really get to showcase what Anders really has. Like Poulin, this is a big year for Nilsson. His play will determine what his future with the club looks like. If he’s solid which he should be, than it gives him an opportunity to be considered next year for either a starter role or backup role on the Island depending on Poulins play as well. Of course that’s figuring that Nabokov won’t be back at age 39. My opinion, the Isles have to go to one of these kids next year as long as they prove themselves.
The Islanders have great depth in every position and goaltending may be the most important. As Islanders fans we know how important depth is at goaltending. With two 23 year olds progressing every year and getting better, just add goaltending to the list of positions the Isles are solid at for years to come.