Many pundits pegged the Isles as instant lottery pick contenders but this revitalized team led by John Tavares simply refuses to quit. Over their last ten games the team won seven, taking 15 points from their opponents and sitting in the eighth playoff seed as of this writing. Some of those wins came over the Sabres, Avalanche and Devils who each lead their respective divisions.
Although Tavares plays the catalyst role, Kyle Okposo actually leads the team in scoring with 33 points. Matt Moulson sits one point behind him with 32 and Tavares one point behind him with 31. Mark Streit, Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen and Trent Hunter all project to eclipse 40 points providing the team with solid depth and a sturdy building point for the future.
At this point the team feels a few pieces away from a playoff berth but with a whopping 16 million in cap space they can afford to pick up a veteran or two. Still the team boasts a solid veteran foundation with role players Doug Weight, Richard Park and Jon Sim around to mentor the youth and fill in important minutes.
Their play in goal, however, does not represent a necessary piece.
Unlike last season where the team finished with the third most goals allowed, goaltenders Dwayne Roloson, Rick DiPietro and Martin Biron improve the team making them a more respectable tenth-most goals allowed. Clearly an area the team should work on especially with injuries to Radek Martinek and Brendan Witt.
GM Garth Snow expressed his willingness to spend up to the budget which could help this team out incredibly. Snow also emphasized his hesitancy in trading away productive youth noting their playoff standing should not effect their rebuild.
The season becomes one of streaks. Okposo just finished a six game streak, Bailey a seven game streak and the team a four game win streak. With continued solid play from DiPietro, Roloson and the youngsters the Islanders should streak their way into the playoffs for the first time since 2007.