Islanders fans, we have now officially entered the month of September and that means one thing- NHL hockey is approaching. Early September is usually fairly quiet as far as news goes and this one is no different. So with 15 days until training camp and 37 days until the season opens, I will give you my point projections for the Islanders forwards this upcoming season.
Josh Bailey– Last year, Bailey set a new career high in points for himself and I think he sets a new mark this upcoming season. Although Isles fans were disappointed in Bailey last season, he did some good things and I think he’ll continue that this season.
Projection: 12 goals, 29 assists, 41 points
Eric Boulton– I can’t see Boulton making the team this season, and even if he does, there’s really no point in making any projections for him, other than in the fight and penalty minute categories.
Casey Cizikas– After a surprisingly good lockout shortened 2013 campaign, Cizikas didn’t do much to further that in 2014. I think the Isles fourth line center will benefit from the added competition and have a decent 2014-15 for himself while providing good energy, faceoff wins and solid penalty killing.
Projection: 8 goals, 15 assists, 23 points
Cal Clutterbuck– With all of the forwards the Islanders added in the offseason, Clutterbuck will most likely be demoted to the fourth line this upcoming season. You know what you’re going to get from number 15- a little speed, a lot of checking and a little offense. This season will be no different for Clutterbuck and Isles fans will once again be satisfied with his performance.
Projection:11 goals, 13 assists, 25 points
Cory Conacher– The more and more you look into Conacher, the more you will realize he is an underrated hockey player. When Garth Snow signed him on July 1st Islanders fans were frustrated, and for good reason. I think Conacher takes Martin’s spot on the 4th line to start the season and has a nice year in New York.
Projection: 13 goals, 16 assists, 29 points
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Michael Grabner– How about finishing off a breakaway or two, Michael? Because if he does, he will blow my projections for him out of the water this season. I think hopefully having some good, consistent linemates will be beneficial for Grabner but I think he’ll fall short of 20 goals this season.
Projection: 19 goals, 13 assists, 32 points
Mikhail Grabovski: I can’t possibly be the only Islander fan who’s extremely excited to watch Grabovski play on a nightly basis. The way he plays the game is fun to watch and I think he’ll have a big year for the Isles as he tries to prove he’s worth the contract.
Projection: 26 goals, 32 assists, 58 points
Nikolai Kulemin– This season, Kulemin will be reunited with his longtime teammate in Toronto, Mikhail Grabovski. The big forward has struggled the past few seasons, but he, like all of the Islanders, has something to prove this season. I don’t see Kulemin returning to his 30 goal form, but he will certainly be productive for New York.
Projection: 22 goals, 20 assists, 42 points
Anders Lee– For me this is the most difficult projection to make because if Lee starts the season on Long Island I think he’ll perform well, but I’m not sure he makes the team. If one of the top nine forwards were to go down however, Lee will be the first call up. Injuries happen, so I’m sure he’ll see time and be productive, but not enough to make an impact.
Projection: 9 goals, 6 assists, 15 points
Matt Martin– If you read my article from a few days back on Martin, you know what I think of his role on this years team. Martin will be a healthy scratch to start the season in my opinion, but he may see time in games against teams like Philadelphia. Not enough time to make much of an impact, especially at the rate he puts up points.
Projection: 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points
Colin McDonald– Like Martin, I don’t see much of role for McDonald on this year’s team. He, like Martin, was very ineffective last season, and I don’t think he’ll get in many games if everyone stays healthy.
Projection: 3 goals, 7 assists, 10 points
Brock Nelson– After a decent rookie campaign, I, like many, think that Nelson will have a breakout season, especially if he plays alongside John Tavares. Nelson has all the tools that can make him very successful next to Tavares, and I think he will excel playing alongside the Isles captain. He can help the top line not only offensively, but also with his defensive abilities.
Projection: 26 goals, 26 assists, 52 points
” I, like many, think that Nelson will have a breakout season, especially if he plays alongside John Tavares.”
Frans Nielsen-With the addition of Mikhail Grabovski as the second line center, Nielsen will slide back into the third line role where he fits best. But to go along with that, he’ll receive less ice time and won’t be able to live up to his breakout season in point production from last year. His lessening in production won’t hurt the Isles at all and will only help, as he’ll be able to focus more on his excellent two way game.
Projection: 16 goals, 30 assists, 46 points
Kyle Okposo– Okposo broke out in a huge way for the Islanders last season and I think he’ll continue that into this season. He and Tavares built great chemistry last season and that’ll continue to grow as they’ve worked out with each other all offseason. I don’t think he’ll have quite as many points as last season, but trust me, he won’t disappoint.
Projection: 25 goals, 39 assists, 64 points
Ryan Strome- The former fifth overall pick will head into training camp with an opportunity to start the season on Long Island for the first time in his career and I think he’ll run away with it. I see him playing the season with Grabovski and Kulemin and the second year player coming close to breaking 50 points.
Projection: 21 goals, 28 assists, 49 points
John Tavares– I mean what more could you say about the captain, number 91, John Tavares. According to his offseason trainer his knee is fine and he is in great shape. I expect yet another great season from Tavares and he will take this team to the playoffs.
Projection: 36 goals, 53 assists, 89 points
Agree with my predictions? Disagree? Comment below!