We are nine days away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s take a look at the New York Islanders.
|Andrew Ladd – LW – (from CHI)||Kyle Okposo – RW – (to BUF)|
|P.A. Parenteau – RW – (from TOR)||Frans Nielsen – C – (to DET)|
|Jason Chimera – LW – (from WSH)||Matt Martin – LW – (to TOR)|
|Brian Strait – D – (to WPG)|
|Taylor Beck – LW – (to EDM)|
The Islanders have qualified for the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and their first round victory last year was the first time they’ve made it to the second round since they went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1992-93.
Despite another successful season in Brooklyn, the Islanders come into the 2016-17 season with an entirely different looking team. This summer they saw Kyle Okposo sign with Buffalo, Frans Nielsen with Detroit and Matt Martin with Toronto. Those were key members of the Islanders’ first, second and fourth lines a season ago. However, Garth Snow and the rest of the Islanders management group did a nice job replacing those losses. New York signed Andrew Ladd, who is expected to take Okposo’s spot on a line with captain John Tavares, they also signed P.A. Parenteau and Jason Chimera, who should fill out a top-6 and bottom-6 role. Usual suspects like Tavares, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey are back in their usual spots and Ryan Strome is expected to fill-in for Frans Nielsen, after an incredibly disappointing 2015-16 season, that saw him land in Bridgeport (AHL) for a period of time. He has too much talent to be held down for long and should return to form as a key part of the Isles’ top-6 again. Another new and interesting name that has surfaced in September is Mathew Barzal. The 19-year-old was the No.16 overall pick in 2015 and has impressed in training camp after posting 27 goals and 61 assists (88 points) in 58 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) last year. Look for Barzal to get a shot with the Islanders to start the season and he could even work his way into the top-6.
The Islanders’ blueline is one thing that didn’t change much this summer. They lost depth defenseman Brian Strait to Winnipeg but added veteran Dennis Seidenberg on a one-year deal last week. The addition of Seidenberg may continue to block the way for 2013 No.15 overall pick Ryan Pulock, who has had a tough time landing a permanent spot with the Islanders. Over the last two years, Pulock has picked up 24 goals and 29 assists (53 points) in 105 games with Bridgeport over the last two years. Their blueline is led by the top-pairing of Nick Leddy and Travis Hamonic, who are coming off of solid seasons. Leddy more so than Hamonic, having posted a career-high 40 points while Hamonic saw a dip in points, but his underlying numbers remains strong. Calvin de Haan and Johnny Boychuk make up their second pair, who also carry strong possession numbers, even good enough to be a top NHL pair. Thomas Hickey and the aforementioned Seidenberg and Pulock will fight for the last two spots.
Between the pipes, the Islanders might be the only team in the NHL that will carry three goalies this season. Jaroslav Halak is expected to enter the season as their No.1 option with Thomas Greiss and J-F Berube coming in as the No.2 and No.3. Halak battled injuries last season, being limited to 36 starts, going 18-13-4 with a 2.30 goals against average (GAA) and .919 save percentage (SV%). Halak’s injuries opened the door for Greiss to take over as a No.1 and he delivered, winning 23 games with a 2.36 GAA and .925 SV%. So where does Berube fit into the equation? Not sure. Halak and Greiss both posted great numbers last year and Halak was arguably the best player at the World Cup of Hockey, which will likely leave Berube in one of two places—one is waivers and the other is the press box.
Overall, the Islanders did a good job filling the holes left by the summer departures and should once again find themselves battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Tavares should also fight for the scoring lead despite losing his partner in crime Okposo.
Islanders in the DFO Top 275:
- 7. John Tavares – C
- 99. Andrew Ladd – LW
- 116. Jaroslav Halak – G
- 160. Nick Leddy – D
- 162. Brock Nelson – LW
- 173. Ryan Strome – RW
- 227. Thomas Greiss – G
- 233. Anders Lee – LW
- 249. P.A. Parenteau – RW
- 261. Johnny Boychuk – D
2016-17 Season Projection:
The Metropolitan Division is top heavy, which will hurt the Islanders chances of winning the Division, but still in contention for a playoff spot, even if it’s via the Wild Card.