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Your Islanders 'Dear God Please Make It Out Of The First Round' 2015-16 Season Preview

BW We Gon EatHockey back! New Year, new arena, new blogger, same team. With what seems to be everything about life as an Isles fan changing with this move to Brooklyn, the one constant going into the season is the faces in the lockerroom, as the Isles look to build off their best season in the last 20 [twenty] [one decade x 2] years, and make it out of the first round for the first time in the same frame.

Additions/Departures

  • (In)Ryan Pulock* – D
  • (In)Thomas Greiss – G
  • (In)Steve Bernier – F
  • (In)Marek Zidlicky – D
  • (Out)Michael Neuvirth – G
  • (Out)Lubo Visnovsky – D
  • (Out)Michael Grabner – F
  • (Out)Colin McDonald – F
  • (Out)Tyler Kennedy – F

*Probs not for long

Storylines To Follow:

John Tavares’ Quest For Hardware – Having been named a finalist for the Hart 2 of the last 3 years, while missing out on last year’s Art Ross on the last day of the season, on an empty net goal, look for JT to do what he does best, improve on his already flawless game and finally take home some hardware.

Ryan Strome To Take The Next Step – After reaching the 50 point mark in his first full season in the NHL, the 22 year old is quickly becoming the next big thing in blue and orange, leading the way for what is sure to be the hockey family of the future [the Stromes]. Expect Ryan to match last year’s tallies, especially if he continues to get 1st line minutes under Capuano. Strome Gon’ Eat.

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Remember that one time?

 

The Backup Goalie Situation – Last year we found our go-to goalie in Jaro Halak, but have yet to find an established tender to back #41 up. With Poulin, Johnson, and Neuvirth all old news, the spotlight turns to Thomas Greiss. Backup Goalie X went 9-6-3 with a Save% of .908 last year in Pittsburgh. With a team that can finally produce for the big time, and not many non-talanted players in the nightly roster this year, I feel Greiss is going to be this year’s scapegoat. The Strait/Boulton/Baileys of the team that fans more often then not get on just to get on. Unless, y’know, he does his job and stops some pucks.

Ryan Pulock’s Year In General – Pulock is the next face to come out of the never ending Isles prospect pool. Everyone know’s what to expect from youngin’, a stupiddumbhard slapshot and can work a powerplay like it’s his day job [it is]. But with Zidlicky and Strait rounding out the bottom of the NHL roster, we most likely will only be getting glimpses of Pulock this year, be it by injury or Strait continuing his quest of being Andrew MacDonald 2.0

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Brooklyn, And Everything About It – Kind of a given, as it’s already taken a lot of focus away from the hockey part of this hockey team. The team’s first year playing in the Barclays Center is going to be a whirlwind of hot takes, be it about sightlines, scoreboards, #brands, deals including unlimited beer and free food, or black jerseys, you’re gunna hear about it.

Okposo’s Future With the Club - Oh how quickly those #OkieForSochi hashtags turn into “Package him for Stamkos” tweets. With Okposo’s contract up this July, keep an eye [heh] on whether Garth decides to pay Okie his money, or look to move him for, dare I say, not Steven Stamkos.

Why They’ll Win The Stanley Cup: Halak is as close to fitting himself into the ‘elite’ conversation as a goalie can get, and with a healthy year [plz] and an offense filled with blooming goal scorers, the Islanders could be staring at an electric year carried by their offensive talents. Mix that with a just above average defensive-6 and everyone gon’ eat.

Why They’ll Miss The Playoffs: As beautiful as the team’s top three D-men are, the bottom three are all players who can have their years go either way. Zidlicky won’t play a full 82 games, meaning Strait and [rookie] Ryan Pulock will be rounding out CDH and Hickey, NHL level players who just aren’t good enough to rely on heavily yet. On top of that, Greiss is no Roy.

What To Expect: With the Pens, Caps, and Rags duking it out for the top spot in the Metro, expect the Isles to fit into the playoff picture via the wild card, with strong years out of Leddy, Halak, and of course, Johnny Tavares. If all goes right this team could win the Division, but with the Metro set up to be a pure battle royale who knows how it all will unfold.

JT smile

PS – Reminder that tomorrow is the unofficial deadline to get tickets to the Islanders/Bruins Barstool Event:

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CLICK HERE TO BUY TIX TO BRUINS GAME

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CLICK HERE TO BUY TIX TO THE BLUES GAME