Let me just start off by saying this is going to be a biased article. I’m not even going to try and hide it, I was not a fan of the Islanders offseason moves. I just believed that Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin were too integral to the Islanders success the last two seasons to have let them walk. While I believed it to be easier to find a winger to replace Okposo and play next to Tavares I was still sad to see him go as well.
Nielsen played on the power play, penalty kill and was one of the best in the shootout all time. On top of that he was a strong two way forward who could score. A valuable player I just don’t think the Islanders could replace. Nielsen currently has 15 points for the Red Wings
In place of Okposo it seems they brought in Andrew Ladd to play wing alongside JT. Ladd, in my opinion, was a slightly older and more expensive option. On top of that he has struggled to perform with only 5 points so far this season. Okposo, on the other hand, is currently leading the Sabres with 16 points. On top of Ladd’s struggles he was given the A his first season on the team.
For the past two seasons the Islanders 4th line was considered the best in hockey. It was the only line on the team that didn’t change. Well this year it did when the Islanders let Matt Martin walk. Martin led the league the past 5 seasons in hits and is doing so yet again this season. He was the closest thing to an enforcer on the team and always provided a spark when he stepped on the ice with his bone crushing hits. On top of that he had his best season offensively last year with 19 points.
Jason Chimera is a physical player and has put up over 40 points in 2 of his last 3 seasons with Washington but he has struggled so far this year with just 3 goals to go along with 5 assists. He is also 37 years old. I simply don’t see him replicating the success he had last season.
This team has struggled early in the season. A big part of that is the new players have simply not lived up to what they lost in Martin, Nielsen and Okposo. If the Islanders want to make the playoffs for a third straight season the newcomers are going to have to step up.
Be sure to comment below and let us know what you think of the Islanders off-season moves!