NHL hockey is a back in less than twenty-four hours! It’s a shame that we had to be saying that, but I’m also really happy to be saying that.
Anyways, the New York Islanders will be at the Coliseum tomorrow night. They will be facing-off against the reigning Eastern Conference Champions, the New Jersey Devils, which looks to be a great matchup for all fans in attendance. The Devils will be starting Martin Brodeur for the 18th straight season on opening night, and the Islanders will (hopefully) be starting Evgeni Nabokov, a winner of 311 NHL games.
Islanders fans will also see John Tavares for his 4th (3 ½) season on the Island, and his supporting cast looking to pick it up a notch as the Islanders look to make their first playoff berth since the 2006-07 season.
With so many question marks for every team, and the league’s possibility of being an extremely predictable one this season, here are some predictions for the Islanders in 2013:
1) John Tavares will end the season on over a point-per-game pace. Last year, JT did fell one point short.
2) Rick DiPietro and Evgeni Nabokov will not finish the season, as both goalies will go down with an injury. Nabby will fall due to conditioning, and Rick DiPietro will be his same old self. Kevin Poulin will take the reins.
3) Michael Grabner scores 15 goals. Matt Moulson scores 20 goals.
4) Lubomir Visnovsky will report to the Islanders, and will be traded within his first month on the team. The Islanders find no need for Visnovsky, as Thomas Hickey stands out as a solid puck-moving defenseman.
5) The Islanders power-play improves from last year’s 8th-overall to a top-5 performance. The penalty-kill improves from the middle-of-the-pack to top-10. Kyle Okposo breaks out on both units.
6) The Islanders offense improves greatly from last season on a goals-per-game basis. The Islanders see offensive production from their 4th-line, including Marty Reasoner, who scores on opening night.
7) Matt Martin breaks the NHL hits record (OK that one was just for fun).
8) Jesse Joensuu returns from injury and scores 10 goals this season. Josh Bailey returns from injury and fails to live up to his expectations. Islanders must make decision if he is a bottom-six forward/penalty killer, or give up.
9) Joe Finley shows glimmers of why he was a first-round pick in 2005. Plays 20 games for the Islanders before breaking his hand in a fight.
10) Jack Capuano lasts the entire season.
11) John Tavares will lead the Islanders forwards in plus/minus. Travis Hamonic for defensemen.
12) Mark Streit will have a better defensive season than 2011-12. He will also score 5 goals on the powerplay.
13) Islanders find themselves on a 5-game winning streak early in the season.
14) Nino Niderreiter and Brock Nelson get called up to the NHL together. Nelson becomes one of the Islanders best two-way forwards. Nino scores 8 goals in 15-20 games.
15) The Islanders make the playoffs, jumping over New Jersey and Philadelphia in the division. It’s a 7-seed for the Islanders at the end of April. Hot start, hot finish, but cool for 10 games in the middle.
What’s on your minds, Islanders fans; any predictions for the upcoming shortened season?
Filed Under: New York Islanders
About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants