Time for now full time head coach Jack Capuano to make some tough decisions.
Forward Line 1:
PA Parenteau----John Tavares---Matt Moulson
This line was together for most of this past season, and they produced. Tavares, Moulson, and Parenteau were first, second, and third, respectably, in scoring for the Isles this past season. Taking apart this line would be a shame, as JT is primed to be one of the NHL's top scorers. This line could be together for years to come.
Forward Line 2:
Michael Grabner---Frans Nielsen---Kyle Okposo
Ever since Kyle Okposo returned to the lineup, this line was formed and they stayed together for the rest of the year. This line flat out has everything. Frans Nielsen could be a future Selke Trophy, which goes to the best defensive forward in the league. Also, you can't forget about Nielsen's unstoppable penalty shot. Michael Grabner came out of nowhere to become the NHL's fastest skater at the All-Star game. He also scored a team leading 34 goals and seemed to get a breakaway a game. Then there is the man who I think is going to wear the "C" on his jersey next year, Kyle Okposo. This line is a great line and, if together, will produce. Now things start to get interesting.
Forward Line 3:
Trent Hunter---Josh Bailey---Blake Comeau
This line is up in the air. But it is a great scoring line. This season, Comeau and Bailey emerged as great scorers, with Comeau scoring 24 goals and Bailey getting 17 assists. This line also has a man who has played with the Islanders for the past TEN years, Trent Hunter. when he's healthy, Trent is a big physical presence and he has a great slap-shot. I really would like to see these guys on a line, it would be exciting for everyone.
Forward Line 4:
Matt Martin---Micheal Haley---Trevor Gillies
This 4th line is up for grabs. But, the line that I have chosen is a good one. First off, you have the fighting ability of all three of these guys. Then you have the offensive skill of all three of them. They may not be prominent goal scorers, but they get their chances. Haley is coming off a short stint with the Isles at the end of the season, and he became a fan favorite within about 3 hours of being called up because of his fight against Penguins goalie Brent Johnson. Gillies is and has always been a fan favorite, and the Islanders love him, so he will probably be staying. Matt Martin also had a solid rookie season, impressing Isles fans.
Defense Line 1:
Mark Streit---Radek Martinek
Now, if you have been clicking on the player's names in this entry, you may have noticed that the highlights are all goals, except for Radek Martinek. He's been an Islander for the past decade, and yet John Tavares scored more goals this season than Martinek scored in his whole career. When Martinek gets the chance to shoot, he lets off a great shot, but his known for his great defensive and physical play. On the other hand, there is Mark Streit. He missed all of last season after a collision with Matt Moulson during the team's inter squad game. When he returns, he will be in charge of the power-play, and he can shoot. In his first year as an Islander, 08-09, he led the team in points with 56. He is the Islanders top defenseman, and if he is healthy, watch out.
Defense Line 2:
Travis Hamonic---Andy MacDonald
At the start of last season, Travis Hamonic was in Bridgeport and Andy MacDonald was going to be the #2 defenseman. However, things change fast, and after the Islanders traded James Wisniewski, these two men were the Islanders top defensemen. They were phenomenal and proved that they deserved to be the top pair. Next year, I hope they stay together in the NHL, even though they won't be the top pair. Hamonic looked like a seasoned veteran at points last year, maturing very quickly. All of this while MacDonald showed why the Isles have stuck with him until this point. These guys need to stay together.
Defense Line 3:
Mark Eaton---Milan Jurcina
This third defenseman pear is also up in the air, but these two people deserve to be on the team. Mark Eaton is a great defensive defenseman and playoff veteran, and his name is on the Stanley Cup from his year with Penguins a few years ago. Mark is also a great leader, and he had the "A" on his jersey for a little while before he got injured to prove it. On the other hand, Milan Jurcina has one heck of a shot. At the Islanders skills competition before the season started, it was clocked at over 100 miles per hour. He also can make great checks, like you see in the videos above. He should be on the team in October. This does leave a few questions.
Al Montoya---Rick DiPietro
Whether or not you like it, Rick DiPieto will be on the Isles active roster next year. Al Montoya, who the Islanders recently signed to an extension, will also be back. Who will start most of the time? That is a great question.
You may have questions, but I have compiled a list of the questions that this team needs to think about for next season.
- What is going to happen to stuck up goalie Evgeni Nabokov? Trade him? Will he show up?
- Will Zenon Konopka be an Islander in a few months?
- Who are the Islanders going to draft?
- Where is Jesse Joensuu on this list?
- How about Kevin Poulin?
- What about the other defensemen, like Bruno Gervais, Mike Mottau, and Jack Hillen?
- Will the vote for a new arena get passed on August 1st? (VOTE YES!!!)
Alright, there are my predicted 2011-2012 Line Combinations. I hope you enjoy them. Have a great summer, and vote yes for the new arena on August 1.
Lets Go Islanders!