This season has not been what Islanders fans expected, but there was probably no need to address the obvious. However, there were some questions that needed to be answered for this season, and most of them were. There are also still plenty of holes that need to be filled and addressed, but in terms of a few specific players, I think most of the questions people had for them going in have likely been answered to some degree – especially in the case of Josh Bailey.
Josh Bailey was the 9th overall pick for the Islanders in 2008. While some say he was extremely mishandled, many believed that he might have had a spot on the second or third line after last season. As such, he was given a five year extension.
Sadly, Bailey didn’t meet the expectations that his lengthy extension had set for him as this season has been filled with question marks for the Canadian forward. While he tied his career high in points, the majority of them came in the home stretch of the season. A six year NHL veteran such as Bailey has yet to fulfill his lofty potential with the career high 35 points he tallied last season.
For the time being, the Islanders don’t have much money on the books, so it doesn’t affect them too much. Should their cap situation become an issue in the coming years, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Bailey would be on the move.
When Ryan Strome was called up from Bridgeport, fans were asking how fast he would score his first goal and how good he’d be with the team. While the hype around his potential scoring prowess was a bit a of an overestimation, Strome has been a bright spot for the team this year and should hush any critics who think that the prospect may be a bust after taking so long to finally crack the Islanders roster.
He has played well on the team and has scored points with linemates such as Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, and more. Strome is definitely a sure thing for the Islanders in the future, or could be used in a trade as a major chip for a more established talent as the offseason roles around.
Another prospect that has come through the Islanders organization, Nelson has also gotten better as the season has gone on. He is the only Islander on the team to score an NHL goal outside – doing so at Yankee Stadium. Outside of that, he has increased his two-way play and has become a very versatile player for the team.
Nelson has been around the world with the Islanders this season – playing different positions and on different lines. The forward has scored 24 points so far in 69 games played, which seems to be not that great, but his numbers are not indicative of his play.
Has he made rookie mistakes? Yes, but for a rookie, he has definitely made an impact and projects pretty well as a mid-6 forward.
Calvin de Haan
A lot of people had written off de Haan for quite some time due to his recurrence of injuries. He proved that many, if not all, of those individuals were mistaken for doing this. De Haan has been a godsend for the Islanders, who have had defensive troubles for quite some time. He’s been a strong force defensively, even after being heralded as Mark Streit’s replacement on the back end. Calvin de Haan adds to an already impressive group of defensive prospects but also will be able to help the team in the more immediate future after a strong showing this year.
What Does Any of this Mean for the Islanders?
Many of the questions regarding the team deal with defense, goaltending, and secondary scoring. While the season was certainly not acceptable by many fans’ standards, it is good to be able to see some of the talent that will be representing the Islanders – and that they are in fact playing well. This is also not to ignore players such as Anders Lee and more. The team will have to make moves this offseason in order to be competitive again, and it sure looks like they will. The fans certainly do deserve it.