While the New York Islanders are still in the playoff chase, to say they are trending downwards is an understatement. The Isles need to game plan their roster and playing time the rest of the way with an eye towards the future.
There are four area’s the New York Islanders should emphasize between now and the end of the regular season. Unless the Isles start a big winning streak pronto, they are looking towards next season.
Before Christopher Gibson’s impressive performance in Pittsburgh, yours truly felt the Isles needed to play him. Facing 50 shots versus Crosby and company shows he is ready to play in the NHL.
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Gibson has done everything he has needed to do on the AHL level. It’s time to find out if he can be an NHL goalie. The only way to do that is for Doug Weight to play him.
Gibson should get two-thirds of the starts the rest of the way.
Stick with Young D
It hasn’t been easy watching the Islanders play defense this season. Especially since they lost Calvin de Haan for the year.
However, at this point, you have to let the youngsters continue to develop and learn. The only way that will happen is to play them.
It’s time to recall Josh Ho-Sang. The Islanders could use secondary scoring and let’s see if Ho-Sang can put things together this time around.
We know Ho-Sang provides offense and energy, and while he needs to work on his 200-foot game to quote Jack Capuano, Weight needs to show some patience with this racehorse.
Remember, Ho-Sang got called up this time last year and provided offense and a spark to the team. He also greatly increased his trade value last off-season by doing so.
The Isles need to find out what they have in the 28th overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft and that’s only going to happen at the NHL level.
The Isles acquired the 26-year old Chris Wagner on deadline day. He is a winger who is a strong penalty killer, solid defensively, has size, and can chip in some offense. He is a real good bottom-six forward to have on your roster.
Wagner is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. So the Isles need to play him to find out if they should sign him to an extension this off-season.
The Isles need to give all of these guys a strong look between now and the end of the regular season.