|Guess who had the Islanders on top of the Devils?|
Anyways, let's cut to the chase. Now that the season has come to an end, it's time to re-visit the predictions made right here at Islanders Op-Timism in January. Needless, to say, I'm no good at telling the future, although I got one very important prediction right!
1) John Tavares will end the season on over a point-per-game pace. Last year, JT fell one point short.
It sure seemed like I had this one. JT was going strong the entire season. Unfortunately, his torrid pace slowed down towards the end and our superstar finished the season with 47 points in 48 games, falling one point short of a point-per-game pace for the second season in a row. Still, Tavares is the best payer in New York, and will be part of the Hart discussion.
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.
Well, I got this almost a quarter right. Rick DiPietro did not finish the season with the Islanders. He was not injured, but he was waived and sent down to Bridgeport. Thankfully, I was wrong about Nabby. He did not get injured, and started 41 games for the New York Islanders. Nabby was as important to the Islanders' success this season as Tavares has been. Kevin Poulin made four starts, and looked good in his last two. Not there yet.
3) Michael Grabner scores 15 goals. Matt Moulson scores 20 goals.
Michael Grabner scored 16 goals in 45 games after scoring just 20 goals last season. Matt Moulson scored 15 in 47 games. Obviously, Moulson's total is still impressive, but he failed to bury some chances that you felt he should have throughout the year. One player surpassed my expectations, and one did not. Again, still great.
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.
Actually, Visnovsky did report and did sign a two-year extension. He even mentored Thomas Hickey, as he became one of the Islanders' best D-men this season.
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.
Unfortunately, the Islanders did neither. Although the power-play was top-5 for most of the season, the PP unit faltered down the stretch. With the man-advantage, the Isles finished 11th in the NHL. The penalty-kill started off hot, but dropped off big time. The penalty-kill unit finished 21st in the NHL. Okposo broke out on neither.
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.
Well, this one's funny. The Islanders did improve their offense on a goals-per-game basis (2.81 compared to last year's 2.39), and it was aided by a huge improvement from the 4th-line (The Islanders received around 20 goals from their 4th-line after only 3 last season). Marty Reasoner still hasn't scored - he doesn't even dress. Sorry about that one.
7) Matt Martin breaks the NHL hits record (OK that one was just for fun).
Martin finished with 234 hits this year, nearly 40 more than Chris Neil (2nd in the NHL). The record stands at 374.
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.
I was wrong about both. JJ did return, but hasn't scored. He looked good out there, though. Josh Bailey returned, but he blossomed, finishing the year with 11 goals and 8 assists in 38 games.
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.
Well, both players did not lead anything in plus/minus, although they improved their atrocious numbers from the beginning of the year. JT finished at -2. Travis Hamonic finished at -8. Josh Bailey led Isles' forwards with a +7, while Lubo led Isles' defensemen with +12.
12) Mark Streit will have a better defensive season than 2011-12. He will also score 5 goals on the powerplay.
Our captain was pretty terrible on the defensive side of things, but he was productive. Streit scored six goals for the Islanders, with 3 coming on the power-play.
13) Islanders find themselves on a 5-game winning streak early in the season.
Nope, but they did find themselves on a 5-game losing streak early in the season. It's OK. They made up for it, finishing the season 11-2-5 in their last 18 games.
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.
I wonder if Nino even plays another game for the Islanders.
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.
The Islanders DID make the playoffs and they DID jump over New Jersey and Philadelphia. They made the playoffs for the first time in six years, and may even end up 7th! Also, the Isles did start hot, got cool in the middle, and finished on an 11-2-5 run. Sounds accurate!
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I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!