New York Islanders Look to Follow Yankees Blueprint in 2017-2018
By Billy Lewis
The New York Islanders will enter the 2017-2018 in a similar scenario as the New York Yankees entered 2017. The Yankees were hoping for contributions from a young cast of players, and the Islanders will follow suit.
Entering the 2017-2018 season I believe it is safe to say that the New York Islanders expectations are actually much higher than the Yankees were entering 2017. People were unsure what to think about the Yankees. One thing that was certain was that the young players would get a chance to play.
The Yankees were an unknown entering 2017, but the Islanders should be a playoff team in 2018. The Islanders have a solid group of players that should benefit from the infusion of youth. The team will look to add rookies Ryan Pulock, Mathew Barzal, and Joshua Ho-Sang (after his 21 game cup of coffee last season) to their everyday roster. Also, don’t forget second-year player Anthony Beauvillier.
What the Yankees have done
The Yankees entered the year with rookies Aaron Judge and Jordan Montgomery as the starting right fielder and fifth starting pitcher. They also had second-year catcher Gary Sanchez penciled in at the top of the lineup, and Luis Severino in the starting rotation.
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They got off to a scorching start and were 21-9 after 30 games. They have seen Judge take baseball by storm with his superhero like power, and Luis Severino turn into one of the best pitchers in baseball. Gary Sanchez might be the best hitting catcher in baseball, and will likely break the Yankees record for home runs by a catcher in a single season (He has 28 home runs and the record for a Yankee catcher is 30).
The contributions from the young players have the Yankees currently sitting in a wild card spot. The Yankees entered the year as hopeful contenders, and have changed the narrative to where they are now expected to make the playoffs. There is still a month to go in baseball so anything can happen, but I would be extremely surprised if the Yankees miss the playoffs.
What the Islanders need to do
The Islanders will not need their young players to have the impact that the Yankees rookies have had. The Isles still have one of the best players in the NHL, John Tavares, to fall back on. The addition of Jordan Eberle should help to improve Tavares, and possibly give the Islanders an elite first line.
The rookies, however, may be the difference between the Islanders making or missing the playoffs. Pulock should find himself in the lineup every night, and more importantly, he should find himself on the Power Play unit.
Ho-Sang and Barzal may find themselves as top six forwards. Ho-Sang’s playmaking ability can be game changing night in and night out. Fans caught a glimpse just how electric he could be in his brief stint last season.
Barzal, barring any trades prior to opening night, has a chance to be the second line center. He has shown the ability to be a great playmaker at the Junior level, and Islanders fans are rightfully excited to see him play.
Next: Josh Ho-Sang has Calder Potential
The Islanders enter 2017-2018 with playoff aspirations. If the rookies can come in and make an immediate impact, this Islanders roster may have the potential to make 2018 a special season. Just how the Yankees 2017 season was a pleasant surprise.