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He carried it forward against the C

  • 03 Sep
    With the NHL regular season right around the corner, TSN. [b]Austin Bryant Womens Jersey[/b] .ca profiles each team leading up to puck drop. Next up are the New York Islanders, a team that has higher expectations after some quality offseason work. Catch up on their summer moves and the issues they face this season, as well as Craig Buttons analysis of their top prospect and an analytical breakdown by TSNs Scott Cullen. Division: Metropolitan GM: Garth Snow Head Coach: Jack Capuano 2013-14: 34-37-11 (8th in Metropolitan) Playoffs: Did not qualify Goals For: 216 (17th) Goals Against: 261 (28th) Powerplay: 17.8% (17th) Penalty Kill: 78.1% (29th) That Was Then: After 4-4-3 start to the season, Islanders general manager Garth Snow decided to shake up his roster and make a move that could help put his team in the playoffs for the second straight season a€“ a feat the Islanders hadna€?t accomplished since 2004. Snow traded forward Matt Moulson, the Islandersa€? first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a 2015 second-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for two-time 40-goal scorer Thomas Vanek. The move was immediately questioned as Moulson was coming off a strong 2012-13 campaign, in which he posted 15 goals and 44 points in 47 games, and Vanek a€“ like Moulson - was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. In Vaneka€?s first three games with the club, the Islanders went 2-1 with the Austrian scoring one goal and adding two assists. The Islanders then went into a nosedive, losing 15 of their next 17 contests, including a season-worst 10-game losing skid. By the end of January the Islanders were reeling; their record sat at 21-28-8, well out of a playoff spot and the team was in the midst of a five-game losing skid. Looking to address their future, the Islanders offered Vanek a substantial contract extension. Reports put the extension in the range of $50 million over the next seven seasons, identical to the number offered by the Edmonton Oilers and matched by the Sabres in 2007. Vanek, however, declined the offer and Islanders set out to find a trade partner for the veteran forward. To make matters worse for the Islanders, their leading scorer John Tavares suffered a torn MCL and torn meniscus while playing for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. Tavares was third in the league in points at the time of the injury. On trade deadline day, the Islanders traded Vanek to the Canadiens for 2012 second-round pick Sebastian Collberg as well as a second-round draft pick and a conditional fifth-round draft pick in 2014. The Islanders finished the season 26th in the league, 11 points out of the second and final wild card playoff spot. Kyle Okposo finished as the teama€?s leading scorer with 69 points, three points ahead of Tavares who missed the final 23 games of the season. Scott Cullens Analytics Predators 2013-14 Stats by Quarter Games GPG GAA SH% SV% SAF% PTS% 1-20 3.05 3.25 7.8% .911 48.9% .425 21-41 2.62 3.52 7.2% .912 45.7% .390 42-62 3.10 3.38 8.1% .904 48.2% .500 63-82 2.80 3.10 6.6% .917 52.0% .625 NHL AVG 2.67 2.67 7.8 .922 50.0% .562 Key: GPG= goals per game, GAA= goals-against per game, SH%= even-strength shooting percentage, SV%= even-strength save percentage, SAF%= score-adjusted Fenwick percentage (differential of shot attempts faced vs. shot attempts, excluding blocked shots, adjusted for game score), PTS%= percentage of available points. Analysis: Games 1-20: Subpar goaltending and possession leads to a tough start. Games 21-41: Goaltending continues to struggle, possession gets worse, record collapses. Games 42-62: Possession and shooting improve a bit, enough to tread water despite worse goaltending. Games 63-82: Best possession and goaltending segment of the year, leads to winning record despite goal deficit. Key 2014 Additions: G Jaroslav Halak, C Mikhail Grabovski, RW Nikolai Kulemin, G Chad Johnson, LW Cory Conacher, D TJ Brennan Key 2014 Subtractions: G Evgeni Nabokov, G Anders Nilsson This Is Now: Garth Snow started his attempt to revamp the Islanders roster early in the off-season; trading for two pending free agents in goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenceman Dan Boyle. The Islanders signed Halak to a four-year, $18 million contract ahead of free agency. With Boyle, the Isles had less success and attempted to trade the veteran after he rejected a two-year deal from the club. In free agency, the Islanders made a major splash in signing former Toronto Maple Leaf teammates Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to four-year contracts. The team also signed Chad Johnson to a two-year contract, cementing their goaltending tandem. In Grabovski and Kulemin, the Islanders receive a pair who combined for 59 goals and 115 points in the 2010-11 season with the Leafs. Kulemin scored 30 goals that season, but has yet to score more than nine goals in any season since. Grabovski spent last season with the Washington Capitals, scoring 13 goals and 35 points in 58 games. The two figure to align on the Islanders second line as they reunite after a year apart. The additions of Grabovski and Kulemin should strengthen the Islanders top-six, which already included Tavares, Okposo and former 30-goal scorer Michael Grabner. Halak and Johnson form the Islanders new goaltending duo, after the assembly of Evgeni Nabokov, Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson posted a combined 3.00 goals against average and a .898 save percentage last season. The remaining question mark for the Islanders is on defence, where their group remains unchanged despite the attempt to sign Boyle. The lone defenceman the Isles added in free agency was T.J. Brennan, who could push playing time after winning the Eddie Shore Award as the outstanding defenceman of the AHL with the Toronto Marlies last season. Unless Brennan makes the roster, the Islanders hope the upgrades at goaltender and forward suffice for standing pat on defence. DEPTH CHART Forwards Left Wing Centre Right Wing Brock Nelson John Tavares Kyle Okposo Josh Bailey Frans Nielsen Michael Grabner Anders Lee Mikhail Grabovski Nikolai Kulemin Matt Martin Casey Cizikas Cal Clutterbuck Cory Conacher Ryan Strome Colin McDonald Eric Boulton Johan Sundstrom Jack Skille Defence Left Right Lubomir Visnovsky Travis Hamonic Calvin De Haan Thomas Hickey Matt Donovan T.J. Brennan Brian Strait Matt Carkner Griffin Reinhart Ryan Pulock Goaltenders Jaroslav Halak Chad Johnson Kevin Poulin Craigs List TSN Director of Scouting Craig Buttons Top Prospect: Griffin Reinhart There is not much flash in Griffins game but here is a tremendous amount of substance. Excellent sense and feel for situations and is very calm, composed and settled under pressure. He has the ability to quiet things down, so to speak, and get the game back into balance when hes on the ice. Excellent agility and balance and with his size, he is a very difficult defenseman to beat one-on-one and to break down. He plays with a self-confidence and assuredness that says, Dont worry, I have this under control. For Islander fans, think of what Ken Morrow brought to four Stanley Cup teams, and you can get a picture of what Griffin means to a team. Fantasy - Cullens Player to Watch - Brock Nelson Coming off a strong rookie season, during which he contributed 26 points in 72 games, with strong possession stats (52.6% Corsi) and is looking at a much better opportunity in his second season. While there is competition among a suddenly-deeper group of Islanders forwards, Nelson may get a chance to skate on left wing with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo on the Islanders top line and that opportunity is too good to ignore. A full season in that spot, along with power play time, would give Nelson a chance to double last seasons output, but even if he doesnt end up making a jump that big, hes a promising young forward who should continue to play a more significant role as he matures. [b]Jarrad Davis Youth Jersey[/b] . Im very excited about the playoffs, particularly in the Western Conference with amazing match-ups, as well as the wonderful local story in the Toronto Raptors. It should be a blast. Here are my predictions, but based upon my lousy prognostications during the NCAA Tournament, you might be better off going the other way on some of mine - particularly with the Raptors, who I hope and pray are able to win an incredibly difficult match-up. [b]Will Harris Youth Jersey[/b].com) - The Carolina Hurricanes placed defenseman John-Michael Liles on injured reserve Tuesday. PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Locke insists he didnt need a confidence boost after a late summer swoon. A return to basics and a little help from his teammates provided one anyway. Flashing the form that made him a surprise All-Star in July, Locke allowed three hits over seven innings to earn his first victory in nearly two months as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Thursday night to move into a tie for first place in the NL Central. "Nothings really changed with me mentally," Locke said. "I still try to go out and be aggressive. Tonight was an example of everything working out the way youd like it to." Locke (10-5) struck out five and walked one to help the Pirates (85-61) win their fourth straight. They pulled even with the Cardinals, who lost 5-3 to Milwaukee. Mark Melancon worked out of a two-on, none-out jam in the ninth for his 14th save. Jordy Mercer went 2 for 4 with an RBI double for Pittsburgh. Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez each added an RBI single for the Pirates, who hardly appear content with their first winning season in 21 years. Pittsburgh crossed the 82-victory plateau on Monday night in Texas and followed it up with two more wins in a sweep of the Rangers. Locke and some stellar defence kept it going against Chicago. First baseman Justin Morneau saved at least one run with a snow-cone catch in the fourth. Mercer tossed in a spectacular jump throw from deep shortstop to end the sixth, and Gold Glove centre fielder Andrew McCutchen laid out to take away a sinking line drive off the bat of Junior Lake in the seventh. "I already told Cutch that as a pitcher you see a lot of balls go over your head and you see him and you say theres no way he can close that gap," Locke said. "Before you know it, hes belly-up with the ball in his glove. Unbelievable play." The Pirates needed Locke to be sharp after Chicagos Chris Rusin continued his impressive run. Rusin (2-4) gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings for the Cubs, looking every bit like a player who plans to be on the opening day roster next spring. "Hes been right there with (Travis Wood) as our most effective starter over the last (few weeks)," Chicago manager Dale Sveum said. "Ever since hes got intoo the rotation, hes done pretty much a great job every outing. [b]Jarrad Davis Womens Jersey[/b]. " It was the kind of performance that Locke put up regularly during the first half. Yet he entered Thursday winless since beating Cincinnati on July 21. He struggled through August and never worked more than 5 2-3 innings in any start as his ERA slowly rose from 2.11 to 3.23. Despite fighting control issues, Locke stressed he wasnt fatigued and appeared to find something last week against St. Louis, giving up just two earned runs while battling through five innings. He carried it forward against the Cubs, who were coming off an impressive series win against the Reds. "It was intent, conviction and execution," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "All three of them were covered off the mound tonight by Jeff." The Pirates were given a long ovation when they walked onto the field, as a crowded PNC Park in mid-September -- a rarity over the last two decades -- let a generation of frustration out in 30 seconds of pure joy. "It was pretty impressive to get a standing ovation like that just to hit the 82 mark," Mercer said. "Weve still got a lot of work left to do. Theres unfinished business." Rusin did an admirable job of trying to spoil the fun. The 26-year-old is part of Chicagos future. He pitched that way once again against a team that typically batters left-handers. The Pirates came in hitting .266 against lefties but only touched up Rusin in the fourth. Byrd singled home McCutchen, and Alvarez singled to deep right to bring home Morneau. NOTES: Pittsburgh All-Star closer Jason Grilli will work in middle relief for the time being as he works his way back from a right forearm injury. Melancon will remain the closer while LHP Tony Watson and RHP Kyle Farnsworth work in setup roles. ... Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez threw 67 pitches in a simulated game. Rodriguez hasnt pitched since June 5 due to discomfort in his arm. ... The Cubs have switched to a six-man rotation for the final two-plus weeks of the season to give RHP Scott Baker more work. Baker is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery. ... The series continues Friday when Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.44 ERA) faces Chicagos Jake Arrieta (2-2, 4.28). ' ' '