Coming off the week of the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft, we now know the New York Islanders will have a different look to them come next season. Losing Andrew Ladd, Nick Leddy, and Jordan Eberle, the Islanders have acquired a nice amount of cap space to sign players. Now we are still left with one major question, who?
Over the course of the last week or so, a lot has happened that shook up the Islanders team. Firstly, the Islanders traded Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings for a 2021 2nd round draft pick, and Richard Panik. Second, the Islanders traded Ladd and three draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes to make more cap room. Finally, the dagger of the week, the Seattle Kraken drafted Jordan Eberle to be a part of their first-ever team.
I wanted to wish the best to Ladd, Leddy, and Eberle on their future teams. However, this leaves another big question for the Islanders, what will the team look like by the time next season comes around? This is all subject to opinion, but here are my bold line predictions for next season.
New York Islanders First Line
At the center, Mathew Barzal will remain. Out of his 55 games played last season in the regular season, Barzal picked up 45 points. This came off 17 goals and 28 assists. Barzal is one of the cornerstones of this offense and he will remain so for the years to come.
At left-wing, the captain, Anders Lee. This is no surprise here. Unfortunately, he had his season cut short due to an injury last year. Prior to that, Lee put up 19 points in 27 games played. This came off of 12 goals and seven assists. The Islanders definitely missed him last year and will be glad to have him return. Welcome back, Captain!
Let’s have some fun, shall we? At right-wing, the (hopefully!) newly acquired, Gabriel Landeskog. The Islanders are lacking in snipers and Landeskog could be just what they need! You can read here how Lou can make this happen and why it’s a very realistic goal that could happen.
Islanders Second Line
There isn’t much change on this line, the BNB line is here to stay (hopefully!). At the center, Brock Nelson. Nelson had a solid year with the Islanders last season. He picked up 33 points last season off of 18 goals and 15 assists. He also played well in the playoffs this year achieving 12 points off of seven goals and five assists.
At left-wing, my pick as of right now will be Anthony Beauvillier. There are a lot of rumors surrounding Beau’s future with the Islanders, so this could very well change. However, right now I do believe Beauvillier is the man to play at left-wing on the second line of the Islanders.
At right-wing, the returning Josh Bailey. Bailey was a threat to be taken in the Seattle Expansion Draft. Thankfully, he is still here. I know he gets a lot of hate, but having played 13 years with the Islanders, he deserves to retire as an Islander as well.
Looking at Bailey’s numbers from last season, he picked up 35 points in the regular season off of eight goals and 27 assists. He also picked up 13 points in the playoffs, off of six goals and seven assists. Bailey earns his spot when he is out on the ice and even though he’s not perfect at times, he is one of the best on the team at making plays for his teammates to score. As well as providing goals at times from himself. I’m sorry to lose Eberle but happy we still have number 12.
Islanders Third Line
Starting at center, Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Pageau played a decent season scoring almost 30 points in the regular season. This came off of 14 goals and 14 assists. He made the most of his minutes on the third line and I think he is definitely deserving of this spot still.
At left-wing, Kyle Palmieri. The Islanders acquired Palmieri after Lee got hurt last season. Since then, Palmieri has been a force on the Islanders and has helped to mitigate the damage of losing Lee. Palmier picked up 21 points last season off of 10 goals and 11 assists. In the playoffs he picked up nine points off of seven goals and two assists.
There are a lot of rumors about Palmieri as well and whether he stays or goes. I think Lou will find a way to keep Palmieri. In Lou we trust. Palmieri was brought on last year to just help the Islanders finish up the season on a one-year deal. However, with how he played, I think he earned his spot on the team moving forward.
Let’s have some more fun. At right-wing, let’s go Oliver Wahlstrom. Wahlstrom played great last season. He picked up 21 points off of 12 goals and nine assists. He even carried that over into the playoffs, prior to getting injured, where in five games he picked up three points off one goal and two assists. He earned this spot and I think it’s time to make him the main guy on the third line.
Islanders Fourth Line
At center, this is a tough one, but I think Lou finds a way to keep Casey Cizikas. That is why he is my pick for the fourth line center. Cizikas played a solid year last year. He tallied 14 points in his 56 games played last year. The whole fourth line had a couple of rough patches last year but I still think they all played a decent year and helped the Islanders get to where they did.
At left-wing, Matt Martin. Martin stays in his position coming up this season. I know, a lot of people were hoping for Bellows, but you can’t break the identity line up and mess up the chemistry. This is a big reason why the fourth line stays the same.
At right-wing, you probably guessed it by now, Cal Clutterbuck. Cal rounds out the identity line who I believe will be back in full force next year. The fourth line had rough patches last season as stated above, but they are still one of the best fourth lines in hockey. Lou will find a way to keep Cizikas as well.
Wrapping It Up
These bold line predictions are just that. Bold line predictions. These lines are a very realistic look at what we could have in store for us next season. We will also see Kieffer Bellows play his fair share I’m sure. Where he fits in, I would say maybe on the third line, with Pageau.
I also know, a lot of people are thinking of getting Vladimir Tarasenko. Personally, I wouldn’t waste money on him. With his injuries and being out a lot, that’s a risk that we shouldn’t take if we can land Landeskog. One thing we know for sure, this off-season could arguably be one of the biggest ones in history. A lot can and will happen. Let’s Go, Islanders!