So the trade deadline has come and gone and the Islanders have decided to stand pat and not make any major trades. They were buyers, signing prospect Anders Lee to a deal and he has already paid dividends by scoring his first goal, on his first shot, against the Winnipeg Jets last night in a 5-2 victory. I’m sure today though that Mark Streit, the Islanders captain was the focus of today’s meetings whenever Garth Snow was making or receiving phone calls. He was not traded and by doing so allows the team to quickly move forward and keep their focus on their next challenge, the Washington Capitals. For a bonus, the Islanders also have Jessie Joensuu back once the Islanders no longer needed the minimum 23 man roster, so Joensuu will add another dynamic and depth to this team.
I have to admit fans, I can’t recall the last time this team had this many players drafted by the Islanders and they are still here. To be even more positive, can anyone remember if Bridgeport looked this deep with prospects? I don’t think so. So the fact that Snow did not trade any of the farm for a rental or an overpaid all-star tells me that he has a tremendous amount of confidence in his players, confidence in his coach and believes that this team can make the playoffs with what he has. He just might be right. As of this writing all three local teams are now tied for 7th place in the Eastern Conference. For the most part, the schedule does favor the Islanders and from an injury point of view, the Devils look like they could be in trouble. The Rangers made some moves and for one game, looks like they have some life in them again. But the Islanders chemistry right now is working so well that it will take a full healthy team to beat them.
Secondary scoring is coming from everyone at every line and only Grabner, Reasoner, Aucoin and Boulton (Lee doesn’t yet count, only one pro game played) have not played in Bridgeport, ever. Everyone on this team is very familiar with each other and with a little more time, will only get better. As for the defense, it seems that the waiver wire pick ups Thomas Hickey is proving to be a worthy defensman on this team while Brian Strait already has a new contract extension. Strait’s future is uncertain for the rest of this season, but will not look out of place next year. In net, Kevin Poulin, like the rest of the young prospects may just need a few more games but looked very good against the Jets and gives Nabakov a needed rest. Patience is needed for him to get accustomed to real game time with his teammates.
So at the beginning of the season fans had a bunch of vets, young players, and waiver wire pickups that made up the New York Islanders. After 37 games a good chemistry has formed and with that confidence is growing which has translated into winning. The pressure is on the Devils and Rangers to make the playoffs.Will they have what it takes to finish strong? Time to find out, but the Isles are 7-4 in their last 11 games. If they can duplicate that again, fans have something special going on for years to come. Good move on Snows part to keep the chemistry, confidence and hopefully the winning going.