TSN predicted what the New York Islanders lineup would look like next year. It’s not pretty and I have a lot to say about it.
Oh the offseason, a time where predictions and rumors begin to circulate. Today, TSN tried to take a stab at what the New York Islanders roster will look like at the start of next year. I’ll say this, I’m glad Scott Cullen, the author of the piece, isn’t running the team.
Cullen goes into, at great length, the Islanders struggles from last year and what they need this year. He pretty much hits the nail on the head here. He spoke about the poor defense, the problems in net and the depth issues at forward.
90 percent of the article was really good, it’s just when we get to the changes he’d make to the team that loses me. This is his roster (Italics indicate addition from Cullen)
Anders Lee – Mathew Barzal – Jordan Eberle
Andrew Ladd – Artem Anisimov – Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson – Leo Komarov
Shane Prince – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Ross Johnston – Alan Quine – Seth Griffth
Kieffer Bellows – Jacob Josefson – Tanner Fritz
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Ben Hutton – Adam Pelech
Brandon Davidson – Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho – Scott Mayfield
Devon Toews – Mitch Vande Sompel
Let’s start at the top with the forwards. The clearly big thing missing is John Tavares. Throughout the piece, he talks about Tavares wanting to stay yet leaves him off the roster which came as a big surprise.
Other than that the top line looks pretty normal for a Tavares’ line. As for line two, we see our first change. He has the Isles trading for Artem Anisimov. Anisimov is days away from his 30th birthday and put up 31 points (20 goals, 11 assists) in 2017-2018.
Anisimov looks to be on the decline and at $4.55 million for the next three years is concerning. He’s an okay depth player, but he’s not really a good second line option and you can likely get the same production from Anthony Beauvillier for a lot cheaper.
He also doesn’t say what he gives up to get these guys which is a little concerning because there’s no way to judge the trade.
On the third line Leo Komarov, a UFA, is an addition. Last year with Toronto he put up 19 points in 74 games. His career high in points was 36 back in 2015-2016. He’s a mediocre 31-year-old which doesn’t really move the needle for me. Maybe you’re able to get him for $2.5 million a year but I would rather put Kieffer Bellows there than a mediocre player over 30.
That’s another thing I picked up on. Why is Bellows on the sixth line? No way he should be that low on the depth chart. With no Josh Ho-Sang, one can assume he’s moved for one of the players listed above.
As for the defense, there’s marginal change. Ben Hutton is the lone change to their defensive core. Hutton, who you’d have to trade for, put up six points (zero goals, six assists) in 61 games. He was down from 19 points the previous year.
Hutton as a second pairing guy is not an upgrade. And being paired with Adam Pelech. Woof.
Another fair question one can ask is why is Devon Toews so low on the depth chart? I would rather see him over Hutton I can tell you that much.
Then, finally, we have our biggest addition, Robin Lehner. Lehner is an RFA so another trade would have to happen here. This past year with a putrid Buffalo team he had a .908 save percentage and a 3.01 goals against average.
Lehner also made $4 million against the cap so you are likely paying him around the same if not more and since he’s an RFA you are forced to trade for him. If I’m trading for someone I would like a cheaper option or someone more productive for that price.
I think the Islanders can trade for Darcy Kuemper who would give you similar production at $1.85 million. Or you could sign Carter Hutton as a UFA for something around $3 million and Hutton had a much more productive season with a .931 save percentage and a 2.09 goals against average.
Sorry to TSN, but this offseason plan is hot garbage. The two forward additions are on the decline and over 30, the defenseman had a brutal year and Lehner is okay but I think there are more productive options available.
This roster is a clear downgrade from last year’s that missed the playoffs for 17 points. If you’re losing Tavares and want to remain competitive this is a much better route to go.