October 5, 2011

Isles Finalize Roster

The NHL deadline for teams to file their final rosters passed at 3 PM on Wednesday with the season set to open on Thursday.

From the Isles press release, the roster is as follows:

Forwards (13)
Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, Michael Grabner, Matt Martin, Matt Moulson, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Jay Pandolfo, PA Parenteau, Marty Reasoner, Brian Rolston, Ryan Strome and John Tavares

Defensemen (7)
Mark Eaton, Travis Hamonic, Milan Jurcina, Andrew MacDonald, Mike Mottau, Steve Staios and Mark Streit

Goalies (3)
Rick DiPietro, Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov

Jeremy Colliton, Trevor Gillies, Mark Katic, Nino Niederreiter and Rhett Rakhshani are all listed on the team’s injured reserve list.

The biggest surprise on the roster is the inclusion of Strome. Strome was just drafted 5th overall this past summer, and is still very small. There's a lot of maturation that has to be done here, and the Islanders know this. I wouldn't expect to see Strome here for very long. In fact, it's been speculated that his inclusion is due to Niederreiter being injured for the next week or so. I would say that's a good bet. Niederreiter had a pretty good camp. Strome showed some nice flashes, but the negatives outweighed the positives at this point in time. Nothing to lose by giving him at most his nine game try-out though, and have him learn a thing or two and get him pumped to bring himself to the next level next season and beyond.

As expected, the Isles go into the season with three goalies. Newsday's Art Staple thinks that DiPietro and Nabokov will be the two active ones on opening night, a statement which has caused some concern among the fan base.

I understand where they are coming from with it, but disagree. While I like what Montoya did last season, and in the preseason, I'm not going to let a 25 game stretch cloud my thinking here. There are still questions as to whether or not he can keep that play up. Also, as I wrote numerous times in this space Montoya didn't look as strong to me as I would have liked in the preseason. There are still some catching problems with the glove. It's nothing major, but to say he was far and away the best in camp is not correct in my eyes.

I know DiPietro and his contract can be a very contentious point, but it's there. If he's healthy and on the team, then he'll be given a shot. It's always been his spot to lose when he was healthy. Now that it appears that he is, why wouldn't they give him the starts at the beginning of the year? He made out well in his preseason games, made some solid saves and had good side to side movement. There were no odd moments of stretching during stoppages.

At any rate, the Isles will rotate all three somehow to make sure all get playing time, until one of Montoya or Nabokov can be traded for a decent piece. There will be little room for error among the three of them, which is good. If someone isn't performing well, then they should be in the press box.

Other notes: Jurcina still has that tweaked groin, but was not placed on IR. He is still a possibility for Saturday night it seems. Reasoner (knee) and Rolston (groin) also appear to be doing well. If they can't go, then Strome can easily fill in for either of them - especially Reasoner, given that he and Strome are natural centers.

We've now reached the home stretch ladies and gentlemen. Islanders hockey is right around the corner.



1 comment:

anthony said...

If my last comment went through on this blog, let me say first hand I tried to delete it immeadiately. Let me explain...... As a fan of both big market teams and small market teams, nothing angers me more than when we are forced to watch the lesser option play over someone who clearly deserves the "chance" based on recent play and merit. and with this nod that DP has gotten, no one can justify this as anything other than "the contract" making the decision.
No, al montoya did not erase years of disapointment in 25 games, but he was our best goalie period. In fact he was so good that the stopgap earned a contract and at least gave us isle fans some hope. Let's not forget, montoya's future was sabotaged by the surprise emergance of king henrich. But I'm digressing, I simply haven't seen anything from dipietro in the past 4 years to warrant the opening night spot weather or not he's the backup. He is simply there due to the albatross know as the contract. I know why teams do it but I don't agree. He wouldn't be the first bad contract we have paid for with zero returns(hello yashin). Besides, with so little sustained playing time, wouldn't a month in bridgeport be beneficial to getting a healthy dp into season form?

Now back to montoya, he played very well and he played everyday. Quite frankly, the isles preseason is a joke. 15 quarters is not enough time to evaluate and prepare 1 goalie to get into game shape. Let alone 3. Playing these guys sparadically will not allow them to find a rythem or more importantly, learn to gel with the young defense. This goalie defense chemistry is paramonunt to a young inexperienced hockey teams. Tough close game losses due to lack of communication and mistakes can deflate a team and possibly a season.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe dp is 100% healthy but more importantly, an nhl goalie who can win more games than he loses but even the best dipetro was prone to bad giveaways and costing us momentum, leads, points, games, etc. To me the dipetro experiment was an epic fail. Of all the millbury moves that later becamo blunders, I still can't understand this one. Roberto loungo was a top 5 pick and a star goalie of the future. We basically traded him for a one year wonder in mark parrish and the one of the biggest examples of Russian talent abated by laziness to ever play in the us in kvasha. These guys were never targets of other teams. To be fair, parish had 2?? Excellent seasons as a second.line scorer and kvasha had moments but for a too 5 can't miss goalie prospect 2 years out of the draft primed to take the next step. Bad bad deal. Then justify the bad trade by drafting another top goalie prospect no 1 who even if he played out his career was not ever projected to be.better than luongo and we all know how that worked. Looking back, the only logic in that trade was we gained two years of salary relief while letting osgood play after Detroit didn't pull him back off waivers. ALSO KNOWN AS A SALARY DUMP.

Well I really went into leftfield. But I think I made my opinion perfectly clear. I also believe most fans are like me and want the best players possible playing on the roster. If dp gets the nod, I hope I'm wrong, or if he stinks, I'm glad I didn't buy tickets to opening night.

I just want to contend. I want to root for a playoff contender. You know I've been disapointed that we didn't address the biggest and most obvious need. A big defensive defensmen who can stop the forcheck and make oncoming fowards think twice about crashing the net. While I think we should contend anyway. We can't afford to be experimenting. Say what you want, DP is an experiment right now and montoya at this time is the better goalie. If the Isles brass didn't agree with this they would have montoya go and use our 4 goalie prospects as depth.