Welcome to part five of our ongoing series of previewing the new 'Metropolitan' Division by interviewing SBN writers and asking some general questions to get caught up on what our divisional foes did this summer, and how their fans are feeling about their chances in 2013-14.
In case you missed the earlier pieces and want to keep up:
- Philadelphia Flyers season preview with Broad Street Hockey
- Columbus Blue Jackets season preview with Jackets Cannon
- New Jersey Devils season preview with In Lou We Trust
- Carolina Hurricanes season preview with Canes Country
- New York Rangers season preview with Blueshirt Banter
Next up, the New York Islanders, a team we know all too well, but still should be one of the more interesting ones in the league this year. We're lucky to have Dominik fromLighthouse Hockey to play along with us and drop some 4-1-1 on the Islanders!
#1 - Give a 4-sentence preview of your 2013-14 team.
The Islanders made the playoffs with a strong finish to 2013, put a scare in the Penguins, and served notice that they are arriving as a tough team to play. But the goaltending is still their weak link. In a tough division that could prove the difference unless 38-year-old Evgeni Nabokov finds a youth elixir or 23-year-olds Anders Nilsson or Kevin Poulin rise like Johan Hedberg ca. 2001. My fourth sentence is available to paying subscribers only.
#2 - What is your team's biggest addition and why?
Many hope it will be Ryan Strome or Brock Nelson, two prospects who are knocking on the door. But Pierre-Marc Bouchard may be the biggest by default because he is slated to fill the old P.A. Parenteau/Brad Boyes role next to John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
#3 - What is your team's biggest loss from last season?
Mark Streit, certainly. It wasn't that the Islanders wanted him gone, it's that they didn't want to commit so many years at top dollar to an aging defenseman. Fortunately, the Flyers are always willing to pay a draft pick for that opportunity.
#4 - Which player on your team do you see being a pleasant surprise?
Bouchard is one of those Snow-style, under-the-radar signings who might make magic with Tavares and Moulson. But if Matt Donovan makes the team as many expect, he could surprise people by piling up points Mark Streit used to get.
#5 - What's your biggest worry regarding your team as this season begins?
Our Fleury-like goaltending, with aging Nabokov in net and two prospects behind him who've yet to give us any reason for confidence in the position. The rest of the team is solid, with enough prospects ready to provide injury insurance.
#6 - If you had to predict a finishing position (1st through 8th) in the division for your team today for 2013-14, which place would it be?
Third is doable, fifth is possible in a bad scenario, so I'll split the difference and say fourth, with some nervous moments on whether they grab one of the wild card spots.
Hmmm, as someone who sat out the whole Crosby vs. Ovechkin nausea and just tried to focus on watching two superstars play, I've no "reverence" (nor reverence lost) for them. I'd expect a big season from Crosby and fear one from Ovechkin, although I think if Adam Oates has unlocked the Ovechkin Happiness lock then it's good for the game.
#8 - Give me one player in the division (who's not on your team) that you think is poised for a big-time year.
That Taro Tsujimoto looks ready to tear this division up.
#9 - As a division rival there's naturally a lot of tension and animosity when the competitive portion of the season begins... So before that, I challenge you to pay a compliment to the Penguins, Sidney Crosby, city of Pittsburgh, its residents, anything you'd like.
Back in the early '90s, it was impressive to see the Penguins learn an eternal truth: Don't redesign your uniforms in the middle of a championship run.
#10 - If you had to guess, what is a potential division name that was left on the drawing board before the geniuses in the NHL picked 'Metropolitan' as the best idea?
Thanks to Dominik for answering our questions and be sure again to checkout Lighthouse Hockey!