The New York Islanders will look different when they hit the ice this October. Although depth at center is something that remains a constant.
One important position, Center will look to captain, John Tavares, Casey Cizikas and Brock Nelson to continue to produce. Waiting in the wings for the Islanders could be Mathew Barzal and Alan Quine both young guys who will need to step up if they want to be a part of the main team.
Tavares and Nelson are coming off of great seasons. The two had more goals than the previous season. The pair has worked together in the past but will be asked to center two different lines this year.
This season Cizikas has to step up the goal scoring. He will have to do it fast as young prospects are waiting in Bridgeport to take a center spot.
Young guys like Quine have already shown that he is ready to play at the professional level. This was seen with his big goal in game 5. It was also the toughness that he showed and heart he gave in those late season games and into the playoffs that proved his worth.
For Barzal it will take some time for him to come up as he is still looking to improve and currently does not look ready to play at the professional level. He could still make a surprise roster spot as he did perform well in the minors, but will probably just miss it, to someone with more experience.
Ryan Strome can make an appearance at center this year. The past season was tough for Strome with a demotion and only scoring eight goals. One plus that he has going for him is, Garth Snow still believes in him.
It may take more than faith for Strome to develop into a big time player. He will need to step up his game and add the toughness that this team needs. Strome will look to be the guy who they can trust when the team is down and in need of a goal.