Isles Release Roster, Opening Night Friday

TheDriveForFive's picture

Well, here it is, courtesy of the team’s official website:

Well, now that that’s out of the way, here are my thoughts:

Anyone that doesn’t like that first round pick Josh Bailey ended up making the team is out of their minds. Sure, the Islanders have a host of veterans on the team this season, but with Bailey’s cup of coffee this season, combined with getting to see Kyle Okposo, Jeff Tambellini, Sean Bergenheim, Blake Comeau and possibly even Jack Hillen develop, this team has the potential of being very fun to watch.

Are they going to make the playoffs? Who knows. If these young kids can play well enough and guys like Bill Guerin, Mark Streit and Doug Weight can pull their “weight,” then this team may have a shot to surprise a few people. Again, much like the last few seasons, the team won’t be expected to do much, but like I said, if they can stay healthy and get contributions from everybody, these misfits will challenge for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Much like the team two seasons ago, the Islanders will need to get offense from all four lines in order to be successful. Can it happen? Asking Andy Hilbert to be consistent every night on offense will be bad enough, but players like Frans Nielsen and Richard Park will have to be steady and score about a dozen goals as well. Can that happen? Stranger things have happened before.

Getting Rick DiPietro back the other day is also a sign of good news, even though his play in the team’s final exhibition game was far from solid. The team’s vocal leader and general on the ice, DP will be counted on again to lead the charge. With Radek Martinek and Brendan Witt around though, DP will have one of the best defensive tandems in the league on the ice for 25 minutes a game. Despite that, no one really knows who will fill in for Chris Campoli and Andy Sutton through the first handful of games, making the Islanders last pair of defensemen a toss up. For my money, Jack Hillen and Freddy Meyer may be the best way to go, considering Hillen’s upside on offense and Meyer’s physical ability and knack for playing smart in both ends. Bruno Gervais may be the best skater of the remaining defensemen and Thomas Pock may have the most offensive ability, but Hillen and Meyer have the poise in my mind to keep the team above water until Campo and Sutton are ready to come back.

At any rate, we’ll see what Scott Gordon decides to do tomorrow in the season opener.