Do the New York Islanders Have the Best Forwards in the NHL?

By J.A. Dominicis

John Gove of The Hockey Writers recently came up with an interesting read on how the Stanley Cup could be a realistic possibility for the New York Islanders. As an Islanders fan, I felt a lot better about my team after reading that. However, there was a specific part of the article that struck me.

Gove said that “The New York Islanders may have the most talented group of forwards in the entire NHL.” After thinking about that for awhile, I came to the conclusion that the Islanders do have the most talented group of forwards in the league.

"I came to the conclusion that the Islanders do have the most talented group of forwards in the league."

Let’s take a look at their projected top 14 forwards and possible line combinations:

Anders Lee – John Tavares – Kyle Okposo

Josh Bailey – Ryan Strome – Brock Nelson

Nikolay Kulemin – Frans Nielson – Mikhail Grabovski

Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck

Steve Bernier, Kirill Petrov

Although they only have one superstar, the surrounding cast is near perfect. The top two lines deal with secondary scoring, the third line provides some veteran presence and other intangibles and the fourth line scares the other team away.

Let’s take a look at other top teams and their possible line combinations and decide if they are better.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Kunitz – Crosby – Kessel

Perron – Malkin – Dupuis

Plotnikov – Bonino – Hornqvist

Fehr – Cullen – Bennett

Porter, Sheary

Anaheim Ducks:

Hagelin – Getzlaf – Perry

Cogliano – Kesler – Silfverberg

Maroon – Santorelli – Stewart

Sekac – Thompson – McGrattan

Noesen, Zolniercyk

Chicago Blackhawks:

Panarin – Toews – Kane

Bickell – Kruger – Hossa

Mashinter – Anisimov – Shaw

Garbutt – Teravainen – Tikhonov

Dano, Desjardins

Dallas Stars:

Benn – Seguin – Hemsky

Sharp – Spezza – Nichuskin

Moen – Fiddler – Ritchie

Roussel – Eakin – Eaves

Sceviour, McKenzie

New York Rangers:

Nash – Stepan – Hayes

Kreider – Brassard – Zuccarello

Stalberg – Miller – Etem

Glass – Stoll – Fast

Megna, Moore

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Killorn- Stamkos – Callahan

Palat – Johnson – Kucherov

Drouin – Filppula- Brown

Namestnikov – Boyle – Condra

Paquette, Marchessault

Washington Capitals:

Ovechkin – Backstrom – Oshie

Burakovsky – Kuznetsov – Williams

Johansson – Laich – Galiev

Chimera – Brown – Wilson

Latta, Beagle

All of these teams have superstar players and a lot of scorers, but are they complete forwards? Do they have that mix of scorers, specialists, veterans and grinders? Some do, and I think that the Washington Capitals have the best mix of forwards of the bunch. Are the better than the Islanders, however? We shall see at the end of the season.

Next: 2005-06 New York Islanders: Where Are They Now?

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