All posts by Isles

Isles Acquire Kucherov, Pair Him with McDavid

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The New York Islanders went all in to acquire Nikita Kucherov as a linemate for Connor McDavid.  The Isles will pair the top 2 NHL point producers together to start the 2019-2020 season, with Tomas Hertl expected to play on the left side.  To add another top superstar to a team that has seen their window open as a Stanley Cup contender, New York had to go for it and start gunning for cups.

The trade sent Elias Lindholm, Alexandre Texier, Andre Burakovsky, and two 1st rounders to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Nikita Kucherov and Travis Sanheim.  Moving Lindholm plus everything else after the season he just had was tough, but that was a breakthrough year and there’s no guarantee he will repeat it.  Texier is a great prospect that was hard to part with, but it saved the Isles from having to add Quinn Hughes which was a non-starter for New York.  Burakovsky wasn’t going to be on the Islanders top 12 forward roster and had to move to clear cap space.  The two 1st round picks are both going to be lower picks and were expensive to give up, but considering what came back, became acceptable.

In Kucherov, the Islanders get a superstar who just won the NHL Art Ross Trophy and the Hart.  He’s signed for a very cheap $5.5 million for the next 3 years at which point the Islanders will loyalty sign him for at least another 2 years.  Pairing his 87 SC rating and 94 PA rating with McDavid’s 88 SC rating and 94 PA rating and adding Hertl’s 83 SC and 78 PA is going to be the best line in the league. Adding Sanheim in the deal at the end was what pushed it over the top for NY, as he could play in the top 4 as soon as this year and is only 23.

This is not a one line team either, they did not sell the farm in this deal.  Having Darcy Kuemper in goal (80 OV), Matt Barzal and Brendan Gallagher on the 2nd line, Jason Zucker, Ilya Kovalchuck, Chris Tierney on the third line, and Seth Jones, Keith Yandle, and Brett Pesce on the blueline give this team talent, speed, and depth in all areas.  Add in top prospects like Quinn Hughes, Joel Eriksson Ek, Adrian Kempe, and others, this team is setting up to be a Stanley Cup contender for many years to come.

What’s next for the Islanders?  They are still looking for another scoring winger as well as an offensive defenceman, so moves will still be made.

Isles Closing In On First Playoff Birth

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The New York Islanders took a steady approach to building their roster as they missed the playoffs for 3 straight seasons to start the GVFHL, but now season four is looking to be the start of a bright future for New York as they look to embark on their first playoff appearance.   The real catalyst for the franchise was trading Vladamir Tarasenko for Connor McDavid before McDavid even stepped into the NHL.  Adding the franchise centerman, who plays in all game situations for New York, was the biggest move this team has made.  They took a bit of a step back last year, adding players around McDavid like Corey Perry and Matthieu Perreault before the team was really ready to compete, which cost them some youth.  This year though, they are ready to take on the contenders.

In goal, Carter Hutton has been outstanding.  Top 5 in goals against average, he has been a big reason why this team is where they are.  On defense, the core has remained the same, but adding Polak and Forbort brought a strong defensive and physical presence along with Jones, Yandle, Girardi, and Schultz, to give the Islanders a solid group to help Hutton out and move the puck up the ice.

Connor McDavid has a slim lead on the Art Ross Trophy and has been stellar all season.  On the second line, Matt Barzal has been impressive and is close to locking up the Calder Trophy with 70 points in 59 games.  In a recent trade, the Isles acquired Jason Zucker and Jesper Fast which added more speed, offense, and defensive play to the lineup.  A very deep team, the Islanders boast skilled players on all 4 lines.

Despite being 4th in the Conference, the Islanders look like a Stanley Cup favourite.  They have the top scorer in the league, the top rookie scorer, a goalie among the top 5 in goals against average, and the second best power play and penalty kill in the league.   This team make make some noise come playoff time.

McDavid Looks to Lead Islanders to First Playoff Birth

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The New York Islanders have built up a strong core of young players over the past 3 seasons, but have never made the playoffs.  After a promising start last season, the team fizzled out and finished 12th in a strong Eastern Conference.  This year the team has made some steps in the right direction and are poised to start knocking on the door for their first playoff birth.

Leading the way is franchise centre Connor McDavid.  Despite putting up a point per game thus far into his GVFHL career, the Islanders haven’t been strong enough around him to get the team to the next level.  This season, enter super rookie Matt Barzal.  He will centre the second line and give a great 1-2 punch that will surely rack up the points.  Down the middle is very deep for New York as Henrik Sedin and Alex Wennberg round out the four.  The wingers aren’t as high profile, but will still be able to score on all four lines. Corey Perry, Brendan Gallagher, Thomas Vanek, Tomas Hertl, Elias Lindholm, Mathieu Perreault, Alex Kerfoot, and Andre Burakovsky provide excellent depth up front to score whenever on the ice.

The blueline is strong in talent as well, with Seth Jones and Keith Yandle leading the way.  Dan Girardi, Justin Schultz, Roman Polak, and Derek Forbort round out a strong but not spectacular defensive core.  They just need to excel at what they do, which is keeping the puck away from their own net and the Islanders will have a great chance to win every night.

In goal, the team has King Henrik Lundqvist, one of the league’s best goaltenders over the past dozen or so years.  Due to his pending free agency, the Isles added Darcy Kuemper to provide a steady long term backup option, while also trading for goalie of the future Juuse Saros.  All 3 are pretty evenly rated, so whoever has the hot hand will play.

The East is a tough Conference to crack, but the Islanders patience may be finally paying off.