Ever since they signed Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski on July 2nd, there has been a tremendous buzz around the New York Islanders, and for very good reason. Some have called them the most improved team in hockey, some have called them a lock to make the playoffs, some have even gone as far as to say the Islanders could be a top five team in the Eastern Conference.
The goaltending is most definitely improved with Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson. The offense will also be much better with the additions of the aforementioned Kulemin and Grabovski as well as the furthering development of young players such as Ryan Strome and Anders Lee. The defense should also be a little bit better with the addition of Griffin Reinhart and the subtraction of Andrew Macdonald, but there is certainly a reason to be skeptical of the Isles blueline heading into the upcoming campaign.
But with all of this optimism I feel the need to sprinkle in just a little bit of pessimism. I will go on record of saying that I do think the Islanders will make the playoffs this upcoming season, but there are certainly some things that could be exposed with this team as well as some old problems that may pop up.