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Sunday, September 28, 2008


28 September 2008

Is this a rebuilding year for the NEW YORK ISLANDERS or are they still shopping for a blueprint for reconstruction? The ISLES and their fans were excited at the beginning of 2007/8 season, hoping to build on recent improvement. Goalie Rick DiPietro had previously signed a record-setting (at the time) contract in terms (15 years) and fans were desperate to talk about a surging team. The 07-08 season, ended however, with a team just simply beaten by the injury bug as judiciously as by their opponents.

Dipietro is a very talented goalie and sees plenty of action. At the start of last season he opened play with a 10-5-0 record but would later struggle and eventually give in to injury after the All-Star game. When the ISLES were mathematically eliminated from post-season play, they called up rookie Kyle Okposo (7th overall pick in the 2006 draft) who proceeded to enthuse hopes with 5 points in the remaining 9 games.

In the 2007/8 NHL Season:
  • The NEW YORK ISLANDERS missed a total count of 414 man games to injury.
  • The ISLES’ production would go down by nearly 50 goals from the previous season.
  • At the conclusion of the 07-08 season, they were last in the league in offense (2.30 GPG) and second to last in Power Play ranking 29th at 14.55%.
  • The ISLANDERS did not qualify for post-season play for the second time since the NHL lockout.
To all things, there is a season. Fans on the Long Island are hoping the start of the 2008/9 season shows a team turned from last season. If DiPietro and the team can stay healthy and off-season acquisitions Mark Streit and veteran Doug Weight provide expected offensive contributions the team so desperately needs, perhaps fans will say the rebuilding process is under way. Remember, the ISLES play against a solid and very local Atlantic Division whose neighborly qualities are not accommodating. The ISLANDERS, like so many other New Yorkers, will need to work very hard indeed to secure any bit of real estate in the neighborhood.

Many times rebuilding a team is known as a youth movement. Sometimes, you simply don’t have a choice but to dip into the prospect pool before it’s considered optimal and allow young players to contribute and begin creating an NHL identity. A long off-season has helped heal an injured team but will the bleeding stop? They finished last season a gruesome -7 against the OGA-developed Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) after having finished +2 by Game 20. Let’s see what the PQC has to say about our expectations for the 2008/9 NHL season.

(cont)…The struggling NEW YORK ISLANDERS lost both Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko to free agency during the summer. They hope the new addition of Doug Weight will bring both some points and veteran leadership to help right the barge. Their popular coach Ted Nolan was relieved during the off-season having had differences with GM Garth Snow on growth strategies. So now is the time to implement a plan forward, play the young talent and begin the necessary growing pains. Opportunities are abundant on the Island and we will see plenty of Kyle Okposo as well as some of the other young talent brought up last year including Blake Comeau and Frans Nielsen.

Last season’s injury bug and uninspired offense were not in play during the first 10 games of the 07-08 season. The ISLANDERS, in fact, had begun the season winning 11 of their first 17 games. The Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) shows they played +1 against the PQC for the first twenty games last season.

This season, the NEW YORK ISLANDERS first 10 games of the season are played 10 OCTOBER – 1 NOVEMBER. Our research indicates they earn a PQC rating of 5.33 during this time frame. On average, they will play strong hockey and then begin a downward slump where they exist below the curve for the majority of the remainder of the season.

Some statistics of note to manage your expectations in to late October are:
  • The ISLANDERS play 6 of its first 10 games at home this year. They will play just under average in comparison to the rest of the NHL on the PQC.
  • Post lockout, they are a combined middle-of-the pack performer in their first 10 games. (14-14-2).
  • The ISLANDERS have lost two of the last three season-openers.
OGA will be measuring the ISLANDERS against their PQC Rating of 5.33 (as well as with all other NHL teams) in order to provide you more in-depth analysis with the ISLANDERS Game 10 Report. The G10R will be delivered to our subscription customers by 2PM Central on 2 NOVEMBER and available for purchase online by 2PM Central, 3 NOVEMBER. See the OGA store for more details HERE. You can also view a sample for our G10R HERE. (Make sure to view all 3 tabs!)

The ISLES will need to bring a new round of enthusiasm to start the 08-09 NHL season and try to erase lingering effects from last season’s debacle. They have the newly acquired defenseman Mark Streit to help bring some offensive punch, even if from the back of the class. They have a well-rested, post-operative elite goalie who needs to play in order for this team to build confidence. And they now have a new coach, making his NHL debut in Scott Gordon, the AHL coach of the year. So call it a youth movement or rebuilding or whatever it has to be. But the ISLES are ready to let the past be behind them and to start anew…again.

Ah yes, another season turned. Fall is in the air but it feels like spring on Long Island. Will the young guns show up early in the year to make an impact? Will they be able to gain momentum throughout the season and perhaps push for the final playoff spot in the East? OGA will be tracking the growth and measuring their team performance against the PQC.

Stay tuned to the OGA Blog and check out the NEW YORK ISLANDERS G10R for a thorough review of the team’s performance as measured against the PQC.

Tomorrow, you can start the week with another dose of the Frozen Pill and the PHILADELPHIA FLYERSSPR.

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