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Look at this picture. If you can remember this day, as an Islanders fan, you were filled with hope. You were excited that we were getting the best goaltender in the draft, a man who was promised to be a star. You were looking forward to what your team would be like in ten years, maybe even seeing your team win the cup.

You begin to see your goaltender rise to elite status. He becomes your favorite player on the team. You can't wait to watch him play.
Then, he gets injured. You're a bit upset, but you know it won't be long until he comes back. So, you favorite player comes back, and gets injured again. And again, and again. 

You get fed up with these injuries. The injuries affect your goaltender's play. He loses love from the fans. His reputation becomes a joke. Then, the General Manager gives your former hero a ridiculous 15 year contract worth 67.5 million dollars. You are mad. You want him off the team.

Years later, on July 1st, 2013, goaltending bust Rick DiPietro is bought out of his contract. A sad saga of what appeared to be a happy story is over.  You know this has to happen, but you are sad it is. DiPietro is, at this point, a waste of money. He has not played more than twenty games in a season since his first injury. 
However, there is hope. The Islanders have now shown they will look for a goaltender this offseason. You are optimistic that your favorite team can land an all star netminder. You know it will happen.  A rising team with a young goaltender means great things are coming. 

Don't worry Islanders fans. Yes, a sad chapter has been finished. But a happy one will begin shortly. 


Photo Credit: Getty Images





 
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"With the 15th pick of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders select, Ryan Pulock." In case you couldn't tell, the Islanders have selected Ryan Pulock as their first round pick of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The 6'1" 211 pound blue-liner, while a work in progress, should become a nice fit with the Islanders. Last season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL (love the league), Pulock lit the lamp 14 times while tallying 31 assists for a total of 45 points in 61 games; solid numbers for a defenseman. 
Pulock is now one of many defensive prospects Islanders General Manager Garth Snow has collected during the soon-to-be-over rebuild. Since the Islanders have such "depth" at the position, we may not see Pulock for a few years. During that time, Pulock will be able to strengthen his playing abilities and get ready for the NHL. 


 
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Big news on draft day (other than the draft itself), Islanders acquire Cal Clutterbuck in exchange for Nino Neidereitter. The 5'11" enforcer is, well, an enforcer, and is known to be really physical.
A LOT, and I mean a lot of Islanders fans are upset with this trade. Many people feel like Clutterbuck is not worth a talented prospect. In my opinion, it is a very good trade. Nino probably wasn't ever going to play for the Islanders again, after not making the team last year, requesting a trade, and literally crying. Nino is probably going to be a third or fourth line player, scoring less than twenty times a season. With Clutterbuck, you won't see dazzling moves, but you will see physical play on a regular basis as well as occasional scoring. Clutterbuck will fit in well with the Islanders fourth line, playing with the Islanders other enforcer Matt Martin as well as fan favorite Case Cizikas. This line will sure deliver a physical element that can run down teams, giving the Islanders top two lines a chance to score many goals. This deal, in contrast to popular belief, will work out well for the Islanders. 


Photo Credit: Geetty Images


 
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According to Mike Carver of WFAN, the Islanders have initiated trade talks for Sabres netminder Ryan Miller. Last season, Ryan Miller posted a .915 Save Percentage, a 2.81 Goals Against Average while winning 17 games in 34 games played. 

Personally, if I were Garth Snow, I would not make this deal. While Ryan Miller is a solid goaltender and an upgrade from current goaltender Nabokov (sorry Nabby, but I do like you better), I don't think Miller is worth his cap hit of over six million dollars per season. There are plenty of other goaltenders in the NHL of Miller's caliber that get paid much less (Halak, perhaps). 

However, if talks do continue with the Sabres for Miller, I believe there is a chance the Islanders could land popular forward Thomas Vanek. Vanek had an excellent season for the Sabres last year, scoring 20 times while earning 21 assists for a total of 41 points in just 38 games played. Vanek has said that he would be interested in a trade, so Garth Snow definitley should dig in to this.

Hey, I mean Miller is a solid NHL goaltender who can even be considered an elite goaltender. Landing him and Thomas Vanek, while expensive would be a major upgrade to the Islanders. 


Photo Credit: Getty Images

 
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          Breaking news from the Islanders, according to multiple sources it is unlikely that fan favorite goaltender Evgeni Nabokov will be signed again. Both sides worked to get a deal done, but no progress has been made. However, Nabokov said in a talk with Newsday's Arthur Staple that he would still like to get a deal done with the Islanders. But if Nabokov doesn't sign, it is nearly guaranteed that Garth Snow will begin trade talks for goaltenders. There is still more to come on this story, so stay tuned Isles fans.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
 
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         With the 15th overall pick of the NHL Draft, it is likely the Islanders will draft Curtis Lazar.  The six foot tall center is a player who likes to get physical and has a cannon for a shot. In the 2012-13 WHL season, Lazar lit the lamp an impressive thirty-eight times while tallying twenty-three assists in seventy-two games played. 


          This prospect reminds me of an emerging force of the Islanders you may know: Casey Cizikas. Lazar is not a first line NHL player. He most likely won't be a second line player, given the fact that the Islanders top prospect Ryan Strome will most likely see day-to-day playing time. Lazar, like Casey, is a third or fourth line center who can score and hit. He will fit nicely into a team with an already strong bottom six. 
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What I like most about Lazar is his potential on the Power Play. The Islanders' Man-Up team could use a bit of improvement, and a guy like Lazar could help. Lazar is like Matt Moulson in the sense that he likes to stand in front of the net and capitalize on loose pucks, but Lazar has a big shot as well. Lazar may even be able to play defense on the Power Play.  A guy like Lazar will work well with Islanders star John Tavares on the Power Play. Tavares can dance around a team and find Lazar, who is staring at a wide open net. Or, if Lazar is a defensemen on the Power Play, Lazar can take shots at the point and Tavares, who has excellent hand-eye coordination, can deflect the puck into the net.
    Overall Synopsis: Lazar will be a player who can have an immediate impact on the Isles, particularly on the Power Play. I look forward to seeing Lazar in Orange and Blue soon. 

 
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According  to Newsday, the Islanders are working on signing defensemen Travis Hamonic and forward Josh Bailey to long term deals. Both players were catalysts on the Islanders' second line during their run to the playoffs and during their first round match against the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins. There is not much information on the situation, so stay tuned. 

    About Peter

    Very big Islanders fan. Love talking hockey.  Follow me on twitter @pjmcentee. 

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