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Nov 19, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) takes a shot against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated New York 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Islanders Boast Homegrown Talent

Nov 29, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin (60) makes a save on Detroit Red Wings left wing Drew Miller (20) during the third period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Red Wings defeated the Islanders 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders lineup has been a source of some negative comments, which include making Kevin Poulin the number one goalie after the injury to goaltender Evgeni Nabokov (38). Though no one wants to see players go down with injuries, this does represent an interesting point for the Islanders organization.

As the years pass, and the rebuild continues on Long Island, more and more of the roster players are homegrown talent, which now includes both goaltenders as Anders “Thor” Nilsson fills in as backup.

On the Islanders current 23 man roster, the forwards are split seven-seven between homegrown players and trades, free agent, and waiver wire pickups.

The defense has a slight advantage as five players were drafted by the Islanders and four coming from elsewhere. Don’t forget about Radek Martinek, who was drafted by the Islanders in 1999.

As for the goalies, with Nabokov going down for what looks like a month or more, both have been drafted by the Islanders GM Garth Snow.

For many fans, this may seem a bit unimportant, especially during the Islanders current skid (2-8-0 in their last 10). However, putting together a core of players at a young age turns teams like the Islanders and Edmonton Oilers into the Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, and the emerging Colorado Avalanche. The key is to find players willing to come and grow with the team to propel the Islanders into the playoffs , something veterans Nabokov and Lubomir Visnovsky have bought into. Injuries to the aforementioned Nabokov, Visnovsky and possibly Thomas Hickey don’t help the Islanders cause and are definite concerns for everyone involved.

As we look to the future of the organization, it appears pretty bright with players like Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Pulock, and some guy named Ryan Strome on the horizon. Having these highly touted prospects makes it hard for Snow to pull the trigger on blockbuster trades that may cost the team money better spent on retaining their prospect pool and current stars.

Despite another rocky November, Snow is staying the course with his team, especially with the restraints he has on his wallet, though fans taking to #IslesTwitter apparently long for the days of Mike Milbury‘s revolving door policies.

This is an important time for the Islanders. Expectations may have been placed too high coming in to this season after last season’s playoff birth, but allowing for prospects to see time in the NHL is important for their development and for the future of the team. Things will play out, we just need a bit of patience.

Tags: Evgeni Nabokov Injuries New York Islanders

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