The New York Islanders had a very successful season last year, and many fans were expecting GM Garth Snow to improve his roster even more over the offseason. Although he was not able to get a new stud player, he did make some important moves. But did the Islanders improve? Let’s take a look at every noteworthy player the Islanders gained and lost in the offseason.
Marek Zidlicky, Defence (Detroit Red Wings)
Thomas Greiss, Goalie (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Steve Bernier, Right Wing (New Jersey Devils)
Taylor Beck, Left Wing (Toronto Maple Leafs)
James Wright, Forward ( Zagreb- KHL)
Bracken Kearns, Forward (SM-liiga- Espoo Blues)
Ben Holmstrom, Center (Carolina Hurricanes)
Joe Whitney, Center (New Jersey Devils)
Christopher Gibson, Goalie (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Carter Verhaeghe, Center (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Justin Florek, Left Wing (Boston Bruins)
Matt Finn, Defence (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Louis Leblanc, Forward (Anaheim Ducks)
Tom Nilsson, Defence (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Michael Grabner, Right Wing (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Griffin Reinhart, Defence (Edmonton Oilers)
Michal Neuvirth, Goalie (Philadelphia Flyers)
Matt Donovan , Defence (Buffalo Sabres)
Colin McDonald, Right Wing (Philadelphia Flyers)
Aaron Ness, Defence (Washington Capitals)
Harry Zolnierczyk, Left Wing (Anaheim Ducks)
Dustin Jeffrey, Forward (Arizona Coyotes)
Brett Gallant, Left Wing (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Kent Simpson, Goalie (AHL- Stockton Heat)
Kael Mouillierat, Center (Pittsburght Penguins)
John Persson, Left Wing (SHL- Farjestads BK)
Very hard to tell which group of players is better.
Grabner , Neuvirth and Reinhart stand out in the departures list, but if you think about it, they got replaced pretty easily.
Let’s take a look at each position and then judge if it improved.
Goalies: Thomas Greiss is a slight upgrade over Michal Neuvirth because Greiss is more consistent. The addition of Chris Gibson is also an improvement over Kent Simpson as the fourth string. Therefore, goaltending improved.
Defence: Griffin Reinhart would probably have made the team as the sixth defenceman, while Aaron Ness and Matt Donovan would have provided very valuable depth as either healthy scratches or minor league call-ups. Marek Zidlicky, despite being a great offensive player, cannot cover the loss of those three. However, that is not to say one of the team’s young defenceman like Ryan Pulock won’t step up. Therefore, defence slightly worsened.
Forwards: Michael Grabner is the only player who left the Islanders who could be a top-nine NHL forward. The rest of the departed forwards were easily replaced by other borderline-NHL players, but the arrival of role players Steve Bernier and Taylor Beck covered the loss of Grabner. Those two could help on the struggling penalty kill. Therefore, no net change.
All in all, the Islanders made some moves, but did not really improve or worsen.