NOTE: This piece was written by Michael Moisa, who is going to be a new writer on the Eyes on Isles staff.
Islanders Record Of December 21st 2011: 31GP – 11W – 14L – 6OTL – 28Pts
Coming off two shootout wins in a row, I’ve decided to choose which Islanders have been the most beneficial to the team’s success. In this list, statistics play a large part, but aren’t the lone factor on what will make or break a spot.
#10: Frans Nielsen (F) 31GP – 4G – 9A – 13P [0+/-]
Frans two-way play stands out among the rest of the squad. Nielsen takes those extra strides to get back while contributing offensively as well and making smart decisions with the puck. His plus minus despite the team’s record and -27 goal differential is showing how Frans hasn’t been the issue with the productivity.
#9: Evgeni Nabokov (G) 2W – 5L – 2.65GAA – .918Save%
Don’t let his record fool you, Nabokov’s numbers may not be fantastic but he holds the highest save percentage on the team and has been given his best effort when used. I think he’s had a bit of a rough start but is starting to find his game.
#8: Mark Streit (D) 31GP – 2G – 14A – 16P [-8+/-]
Continuing to provide some of the best defense for the Isles, Streit is strong as the team quarterback and has the most ice time overall on defense for the team.
#7: Michael Grabner (F) 30GP – 10G – 5A – 15P [-8+/-]
He may not have started with the same explosive self he found towards the end of last season, but he certainly is off to a good start this season. Grabner is a threat whenever he’s on the ice with his explosive speed and sick shot. Look for Grabner to continue to score and be a menace to the opposing team night in and night out.
#6: Matt Martin (F) 31GP – 3G – 4A – 7P [-9+/-] 133 Hits
Ever think you’d see this guy on any top 10? Matt Martin not only has given the Islanders a bit of offense this season, but he truly is the team’s “tough guy” and not only fights, but leads the league with 133 hits! Pairing Martin with anyone who needs some protection is a smart move, I only wish we had four of him so we could put one on each line!
#5: Travis Hamonic (D) 31GP – 1G – 6A – 16P [-7+/-] 78 Blocked Shots
Hamonic really is something special and is only going to continue to improve as he ages. Leading the team in blocked shots, he’s willing to lay down the body and take a few for the team. Not only does he hit a lot for his size, but he’s not overly aggressive and rarely can be blamed for mental mistakes.
#4: PA Parenteau (F) 31GP – 5G – 20A – 25P [-2+/-]
It’s sad this guy was basically thrown away by the Rangers and really never given the opportunity like he’s getting on the Islanders. While this seems like a bunch of guys on our squad, PA just seems to really have picked up his game from last year and has adapted very nicely to playing with Johnny T and Matt.
#3: Matt Moulson (F) 31GP – 15G – 10A – 25P [5+/-]
Matt has a hot stick lately and leads the team in plus minus. There’s not much more to add besides the fact that he’s incredibly strong at finding the back of the net and controlling the puck in tight spaces.
#2: Al Montoya (G) 6W – 5L – 3OTL – 2.45GAA – .917Save%
Montoya has certainly been the best goalie for the Islanders and really has saved some games for them. Montoya as of late may be a bit streaky but in my mind still is fantastic at positioning himself and is highly underrated.
#1: John Tavares (F) 31GP – 10G – 16A – 26P [-2+/-]
I really think it’s unfair to put all the pressure of carrying the team on John’s shoulders. Tavares is still young and still needs some time. Tavares is not only faster this year, but he’s stronger and has some necessary confidence he’d been missing from past years. His points can’t explain his play, but he truly is a large force on this team and in my opinion has been the best Islander since game two (because in game one, our best player was probably the popcorn vender.)
There is still a lot of hockey left to be played.
NOTE: THANKS MICHAEL FOR A GREAT JOB, AND WELCOME TO THE STAFF! - GARY