Islanders MidSeason Grades – Professor Gary’s Review


At this time – It is my pleasure to give you all my grades at the mid-point of the Islanders 2011-2012 season.

I will give each player a two sentence review, and then the grade.  Of course, this is MY opinion.  Yours can obviously be different, and I would love to hear from you about it.

2 – Mark Streit – Defense.  After an entire year out, he has come back, and despite showing some signs of offensive help from the blueline, he has a lot more downs rather than ups.  I think he will improve as the season goes, and the Isles need him badly.  Grade – C

3 – Travis Hamonic – Defense.  After a great rookie season last year, he is picking up where it left off.  His physical presence has been great, and he has even stepped up on the offensive side of the game.  Grade – B

4. – Mark Eaton – Defense.  He is the type of player that if you do not call his name then he is doing his job.  The plus minus number is not what you would want to see, but his experience and maturity is what the young guys can use.  Grade – C-

10 – Mike Mottau – Defense.  To be honest, he has not the same defenseman that he was in the past.  He may have played injured, so that can be a possible reason, but if he wants to be a mainstay in the lineup – he must show a little more mettle.  Grade – D

11.  Brian Rolston – Forward.  He gives the effort, but I know that he would like to have better numbers than he has.  But he is a veteran and will always show the youngsters how to do it.  I think he can be a key to how they respond.  Grade – C

12.  Josh Bailey – Forward.  Year four was supposed to be the year he was to break out.  We are still waiting.  It just has not been realized; and unfortunately, I don’t think it will.  Great guy, but great guys need to score goals and make plays.  Grade – D

15. PA Parenteau – Forward.  Done everything asked for and more.  Moved from the top line to the second line, and is still contributing.  Bet the Rangers wish they still had him???  Grade – A-

16.  Marty Reasoner – Forward.  This player was brought in as a veteran need.  Unfortunately, a couple of injuries and a lack of scoring has just made this move not as good as hoped.  Grade – D

17.  Matt Martin – Forward.  Leading the league in hits, fights for his teammates.  Would like to see a little more offense, but that is not as important as the intangibles that he brings to the table.  Grade B+

20. Evgeni Nabokov – Goaltender.  First he is in – then he is out – then he is hurt, then he is in.  Then he made his mark.  He got win #300, and has been a steady influence on the team.  Grade – B

24.  Steve Staios – Defense.  A surprise signing.  When he is in the lineup – he can play a solid defensive game.  However, there are times that show that he is 38 years of age.  The question is whether his game will stay up rather than down.  Grade – C

25.  Nino Niederreiter – Forward.  Such an enigma.  If only the team get give him playing time.  Like Tavares – he had first line minutes.  I think Nino can do almost as well.  With the size and strength – he should be playing 15 minutes a game – not 7 or 8.  Grade – C

26.  Matt Moulson – Forward.  He does it again.  Scoring at will.  21 at the half way point.  Can he keep the pace, and get to 40?  I certainly think he can.  If JT is happy, Matty M will be performing at his best.  Grade – A

27.  Milan Jurcina – Defense.  Such a big man, and at many times – plays under his size.  Has a great shot, but sometimes will not use it, or does get blocked.  We need more of the size to be a factor.  Grade – C-

29.  Jay Pandolfo – Forward. Another re-tread at the last stages.  He did not even play in the NHL.  Despite some of the things I see on the Penalty Kill (the only part of his game that is of positive effect), this move seems to be only a salary move.  Grade – D

35. Al Montoya – Goaltender.  His concussion was so unfortunate.  He was consistent in net, and was doing a nice job, trying to take the number one job.  He is coming back to the lineup this week, and we expect to see him battle Nabokov for the top stop.  Grade – B

36.  Tim Wallace – Forward.  A journeyman that will never see anymore than the 4th line.  He does give the effort, and hits hard, but has not been able to get his first NHL goal.  He will continue to be a depth player.  Grade – C-

39.  Risk DiPietro – Goaltender.  The enigma.  Out for the rest of the season again due to groin injury.  Like him or not – he has had the worst luck you can imagine.  I really wished he could have turned the corner, but just did not.  I hope that he can come back in October ready to go.  Grade – C-

40.  Michael Grabner – Forward. At times he has been invisible.  He has not had the amount of breakaways that he had last season.  However, he is still on pace for nearly 25 goals this season.  In the last 10 games or so – he seems to have his legs back, and could be vital to the Isles secondary scoring in the second half.  Grade – B-

41.  David Ullstrom – Forward.  For his first North American season, he took big steps in Bridgeport – leading in scoring, before his recall to Long Island.  After starting slowly, he had picked up his game before the concussion took him out for awhile.  He is back at the Port, and should be recalled soon.  Grade – B

42.  Dylan Reese – Defense.  Two recalls to Long Island and he has not disappointed.  He is a solid foot-soldier who is not showing that he can stay up in the NHL.  I think the Isles really need to keep him here.  Grade – B

47.  Andrew MacDonald – Defense.  He does not show the flash or the physicality of a Travis Hamonic, but he is consistent, game in and game out.  He does not need to be a big scorer (although that can help), but I will take his play right now anytime.  Grade – B

51. Frans Nielsen – Forward.  He is not at the top of the shorthanded goal scoring list like last year, but he is playing a solid game.  Would like to see a little more scoring punch from him, but you know he is such a valued member of this team.  Grade – B-

91.  John Tavares – Forward.  He is now moving to the next level, and that rocket is flying at light speed.  How he is not in the Top 25 Under 25 is a complete joke.  His selection to the All Star Game is a testament to how good his game has become.  Grade – A

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