If there’s one team that just can’t seem to catch a break, it’s the once-proud New York Islanders. They thought they’d found their own franchise goalie in Rick DiPietro, and locked him up, only to find out he’s got the durability of a French vase. They’ve stockpiled a lot of young talent over the years, but never seem to get it all working together. An ugly off-ice battle over the future of the club has stolen much of the spotlight this summer, but it shouldn’t overshadow the fact that they have some of the brightest young stars in the league.
John Tavares re-upped his contract, while youngsters like Ryan Strome, Nino Neiderreiter, Calvin de Haan and Michael Grabner all have some serious star potential. Whether or not they can turn that potential into actual NHL-level talent remains to be seen, and even more importantly, they still need to be able to keep pucks out of their own net. John Panarese from Eyes on Isles has more on the goaltending situation in Nassau County:
Goaltending will certainly be the most interesting development during training camp. Besides Rick DiPietro and Al Montoya as expected candidates, the decision by Evgeni Nabokov to join the Islanders after his controversial decision to stay in Russia after he was claimed on wavers when reentering the NHL, will now add a third potential starting goalie to the mix. This doesn’t even include considering the statements Kevin Poulin and Mikko Koskinen made with their play last season. DP’s health, of course, is going to be quite telling for his role on the club, and the competition alone will be something he will have to deal with for possibly the first time as an Islander. Frankly, I think it is going to be a real battle and an interesting process to see how this all plays out by early October.
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