Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
After watching last night’s drubbing of the Phoenix Coyotes, one thing is very apparent.: This isn’t your typical Islander’s team that you’ve grown accustomed to over the past 10 years or so.
This team finally has something that most of the others in years passed had been short on, and that is depth.
A quick study of the Isles roster and it’s quite clear they have a bunch of quality players in both systems and aren’t too shy to call upon them for heavy lifting. From the first line to the fourth line, the Isles finally have guys that are capable and competent at scoring goals, assisting on goals, and playing defense. These are all things in years past that were not part of your vocabulary if you were a fan of the New York Islanders.
Taking a look at the Isles fourth line which is comprised of Casey Cizikas in the middle, flanked on either side by Eric Boulton and Matt Martin is arguably, perhaps the best fourth line in the NHL. Due to this enormous team depth, Cizikas is your fourth line center. With his skill and speed, he very well could be a second line center on several other teams in the NHL that lack what, yup, you guessed it, depth. You add the toughness of Boulton on one side, and the sneaky skill and toughness from Matt Martin on the other side and immediately you have a recipe for great success out of this line.
Looking at the current Islanders roster, the one thing that sticks out is how well their first round picks are actually panning out.
John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson are all former first round draft picks. If you look a little deeper, Griffin Reinhart , last years fourth pick overall was currently up with the big club looking to contribute, and it won’t be long before Ryan Strome, the fifth pick overall in the 2011 draft , is making waves with the big club, as well.
It’s no secret that the teams that draft well are almost always at the top of the standings. Doesn’t matter what sport you follow, drafting is the key to winning. Once you develop a good nucleus of young players through the draft, you can then start to add a few key veterans. Before you know it, the winning begins, then the attitude changes and you are at the point where the Islanders are now.
Great drafting, great player development and some nice additions this offseason have catapulted the Islanders into a team that is extremely close to making some noise in the NHL, especially come playoff time. This has all been due to the diligent work that General Manager Garth Snow has put into the draft and his overall managing of the roster. Thanks to him this Islanders team has something that gets you very far in sports, yup, you guessed it again–depth!