Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Finally.. The Islanders Have Come Back to the NHL

Browsing the Islanders stat sheet this season will not induce any dumbfounded looks of disbelief on how a season can go by and no player on the entire team has reached a certain seemingly easy to reach milestone.

The past 3 seasons the Islanders player stats were if not embarrassing, they were shameful.

Scanning back over the stat sheets from the past 3 years and you will see 3 players in the last 3 years with 50 points or more, and none with over 54.

The players? Mark Streit (56 in 2008-09), John Tavares (54 in 2009-10) and Kyle Okposo (52 in 2009-10)

In 2008-09 the Islanders, granted injury plagued as always had no forward with 40 points with only defenseman Mark Streit at 56 points leading the team.

Say what you want about making excuses for that, but it was embarrassing.

What about goal totals?

In those last 3 seasons we are speaking about, the Islanders only had 4 players top the 20 goal mark. Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin back in 2007-08, Matt Moulson and John Tavares last season.

In 2008-09 the Islanders had to set some kind of record for offensive futility, with no forward with 40 points and no player with 20 goals.

The last time the Islanders had a stat sheet that was not embarrassing to look at was in 2006-07 when they had six players with 20+ goals two with 30+ (Ryan Smyth) and one with 40 (Jason Blake.)

Also, Alexei Yashin scored 18 in 58 games.

After that season Ryan Smyth left the Islanders and took less money to sign with the Avalanche because he thought they had a better chance to win (that did not work out to well for him) and Jason Blake demanded a 5 year contract which he managed to get from the Maple Leafs.

The Islanders tried to re-tool that off season but it just didn't work and a new direction was needed to build a winner from within, not necessarily by choice but by necessity.

The Islanders 3 year period of horrid offensive numbers appear to be over.

Four 20 goal scorers, with PA Parenteau two away from 20. The Islanders have managed to put a team on the ice that is capable of beating anyone in the NHL and look good doing it.

6 players with 40+ points and John Tavares at 60.

Sure they had that awful win less streak that torpedoed any real chance of the playoffs.

That being said the Islanders have come back to the NHL despite over 500+ man games lost to injury the future is bright.

Garth Snow deserves so much credit for what he has put together.

Matt Moulson has netted back to back 30 goal seasons.

Michael Grabner has become an offensive force with his lightning speed and his 30 goals and has a real shot at the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

PA Parenteau has always had skills but if you would have told me he would put up the season he has, 18 goals and 30 assists so far I would have laughed at you.

John Tavares evolution continues as his offensive skills continue to show through as he improves every game. JT has a shot at his first 30 goal season with 26 goals so far.

Frans Nielsen has turned into a 2 way center that compliments the offensive first line of Tavares-Moulson-Parenteau playing with Micheal Grabner and Kyle Okposo.

This is the first time the Islanders have had two consistent lines playing together full time in at least 3 years.

No more shuffling lines to find what works because the chemistry is there.

Next season the Islanders top six and top two lines will return in tact for a full season of playing together.

In addition a healthy Mark Streit will be back to quarterback the power play.

Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic have become defense partners that play against the top players of the opposition and are playing extremely well as a unit.

Chemistry. This team has it. Finally.

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