We've had one bleak thread after another here. Why the Evil One was a horrible GM, why Yashin will never be a leader, why the Luongo trade was horrible, etc, etc. So, here is my question: What are some of aspects of the current situation that are giving you some optimisms about the Isles future?
1) Absolutely love our young core. Love Bergenheim, PN, Nilsson, etc. Yeah, we may lack high-end prospects, but this is a gritty energetic group. These kids remind of the old days.
2) Despite Dipietro's struggles, I think he is for real. The Rick is well on his way to being an elite netminder, IMO.
3) I know Blake is 32 already, but I have a feeling that he is about to raise his game another notch. I'll predict 35 - 40 goals for him next season.
Yikes! Did I really just type that?
4) Mike York rocks. The most gifted playmaker we've had on the Island in some time.
1. Milbury has less input on hockey issues now, and with a new GM soon, he will have none.
2. As time goes on, Yashin will become easier and easier to get off this team, whether via buyout, waivers, or in the last year or so possibly even through a trade.
3. Agreed on Dipietro and York. Less ready to agree on Blake, but it is possible.
4. In the new NHL with its high player movement, especially over the summer, it will make it easier to revamp quickly than it used to be.
5. Campoli has had a great rookie year, and Gervais looks like he could be just as good.
6. Adding to Darth's list of gritty guys with upside, there's also O' Marra, Comeau and Colliton who have all had excellent seasons. Colliton is putting up very nice numbers for a rookie in the AHL. Comeau is one of the top scorers in the WHL in addition to being the top scorer and wearing an A on the gold medal winning team at the WJC. O'Marra was one of the youngest players on Comeau's team and was placed on a line with the team captain, I believe Downie was the only guy in his draft class that saw more ice. O'Marra is also captain for his team and is 34th in league scoring and outscoring draftmate Pouliot.
7. We also have some pretty exciting prospects aside from the obvious guys. Volkov is outscoring Chistov at the same age in the RSL, Guthrie is having a very nice season at Clarkson, Aquino is playing above a 2ppg rate in the OHL, Tuzzolino has spent the entire season in the top 25 in defensemen scoring for the OHL, etc.
8. A newfound dedication to developing our prospects and doing it properly. They're not being rushed, we have a quality AHL affiliate where we can make sure they see ice time.
For my optimism i'm going to focus more on addition by subtraction.
1) No more Sterling
2) No more Milbury
3) Looks like Kvasha's Islander career will finally be ending as a UFA this offseason
4) The Islanders have another chance to buyout Yashin (even though they probably won't)
5) DiPietro cant possibly be as bad next year as he is this year. Unless his name is Rick Fichaud.
6) Rumors have Brad Lukowhich getting moved at the deadline.
Just for the record how many of you out there were arguing with me than Hamrlik wasnt worth bringing back. For whatever reason he was never given the credit he deserved here.
Well the youth has been better that it has in years in terms of talent in my opinion, so even if we miss the playoffs (likely) we can get a nice pick to add.
I hope to see gervais and campoli as our top pairing in 2 years (dreaming).
Darth, you left off what I would imagine is the greatest reason for optimism for you... no more Milbury!
For me, the kids are all very encouraging. I'd like to see us add a real top-2 blueliner to be and one or two high-end scorers (but who wouldn't want that?!), but I think we have the makings of a hard working team with some skill, one that always competes, one that you can be proud of rooting for. The future looks bright to me.
I'm optimistic that Nilsson will play a full year next year and will add 65 pts, and will only get better each year. And I'm optimistic that Nokie is going to be a fan favorite for YEARS to come along with fellow Finn Bergenheim.
As for Blake, did you mean 35-40 goals cumulative over this year and next? Seriously, I think he can be a 30 goal guy, and I think he may be leaned on even more next year if Parrish is gone.
DP, well, I'm hopeful for him. Disappointed with his play this year, but hopeful that a year of maturity, a better goalie coach, and a better D in front of him will lead to solid growth. I hope so, because I really like DP -- I'd like nothing more than being thrilled at a decade of watching DP.
Jokes aside, I am optimistic that we are going to get a great GM in here, be it Brent, Deano, or Tambi.
Great Rookie Season? Campoli started off strong but he's been pretty bad since the game at Toronto.
For the record, I thinK Gervais is gonna be better than Campoli. He looks like a top 4 guys, Campoli to me is a 5-6 guy who will work the PP.
5th in rookie defenseman scoring, and 5th in goals. The only guys ahead of him in either category that aren't older than him are Phaneuf and Meszaros. Yeah, I'd say that's a great rookie season. It's true he hasn't been as good as he started out, but you would expect as much from a guy who just turned legal to drink in the US a few months ago. Considering how hard he works, I would expect his defense to improve, it's rare that a defenseman is complete at so young of an age. Though, you could well be correct on Gervais. Time will tell on both matters.
Some real good points. Im excited for:
-New GM and Coach
-Seeing who will make the club next year from the minors
-More developement with DP (who i still stand beside)
-One of the best free agent crops ever (younger group then last year)
-And the exciting conclusion of the end of the season
-We make a nice playoff run and make it or just miss
-We get a real nice pick and look forward to the draft
I have plenty of optimism for the future, I just think the Isles have no shot this year.
I've said it before though, the Isles are only a couple of players away from being a pretty good team, give them a big center (allow York to move to wing) and a couple of defensive dmen, and I think the rest of the team would look a lot better.
Then you add in some of the talent the Isles are grooming upfront, add in Campoli and Gervais, and a lottery pick next year and a new GM, the future is pretty bright. Just wish we could skip the rest of the season and get there.