The New York Islanders play hockey at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. While New York Islanders tickets have always been available for a hockey game, it has only been of late that those seats have been a chance to watch something resembling NHL hockey. The fans have become accustomed to finishing in last place in the Atlantic Division. This has caused some stirs, some of which are calling for the firing of Coach Jack Capuano and others calling for the trading or releasing of Rick DiPietro, an overpaid goalie.
Capuano has failed to turn this roster around in his brief tenure, but the Rangers have managed to create headlines at MSG so his job is in jeopardy. The Islanders do not want to become the “other” hockey team in New York City.
DiPietro is not going to help. He is signed to a long-term big money deal that keeps the team at the salary floor, but is most often seen in a suit on the bench cheering on his teammates instead of actually on the ice giving his teammates reason for celebration. He is likely gone after this season via a buyout, but the front office is going to be working all shortened season long to move his big, ugly contract.
Regardless of either of those two individuals’ fate, the hope and pride of the Islanders for the next few years, from the last few seasons at Nassau and the first few at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, is the young front line. John Tavares is already a star. He is entering his fourth season and trying to reach superstardom. Given his incredible almost exponential improvement, it would not be a surprise if he could match his numbers last season in just two-thirds a season.
This season he needs someone to take the right wing to make this possible. It will not be Ryan Strome or Nino Niederreiter, but these two players will eventually join him atop the point totals on the roster in the years to come. Strome needs to just make the team at this point and Niederreiter needs to improve his +/- numbers. Instead, Matt Moulsen will be on Tavares’ left and either Kyle Okposo or Michael Grabner will be on the right. Okposo is the early favorite.
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