Questions of the Islanders Future

By Drew Bennett
After a very disappointing season, this summer the Islanders will have to
address many problems that have affected the team throughout the season. A
major question was answered a few weeks ago at a conference when Co-Owner
Charles Wang told Islander fans that Mike Milbury would be the Islanders
General Manager next season. At the same conference Wang stated that plans
have not yet been made on the return of Islanders coach Butch Goring. Wang
also noted that the situation was in Milbury’s hands and the he would make
the decision on the coach’s future.

Another problem that the Islanders have faced for the past few seasons is
goal scoring. The Islanders currently have the second lowest amount of goals
scored, only behind the expansion Minnesota Wild. With the free agent market
being one of the strongest in years, there has been much speculation that the
Islanders will make a push at Joe Sakic who, at press time, leads the league
with 80 points. Another player that the Islanders have been said to be
interested in is gritty forward Martin Lapointe.

One of the only positives about being a bad team is the fact that you
receive a high draft pick. With the Islanders almost assured to have a top
five pick, there is another chance for the Islanders to draft an impact
player. If the Islanders are lucky enough to draft 1st overall for the
second year in as many years, Mike Milbury has been quoted as saying that he
will take Junior star Jason Spezza. The 6’3 center has had scouts drooling
over his talent for years and has unlimited potential. This also brings up
an interesting question on which Centers will be back next season. If the
Islanders do get Spezza and/or Sakic, they will be accompanied by Mats
Lindgren, Tim Connolly, Oleg Kvasha, Jason Blake, Jason Krog, Dave Scatchard,
and Justin Mapletoft. There is a huge surplus at center and might indicate
that trades are soon to come.

With the Islanders having an off-season, which many questions will need
to be answered. After another year of missing the playoffs, Islander fans
are growing very impatient; and rightfully so. With Mike Milbury having
what could be his last chance to prove himself as a General Manager with the
Islanders, expect him to go to drastic measures to improve the team. The
Islanders have the potential to be a very good team, and if some of these
questions are answered, the potentially good team, could turn the potential,
into results.

Ice Chips

On Saturday, the Islanders will face the Florida Panthers. The Goaltending
match-up will be Florida’s Roberto Luongo verses the Islanders Rick DiPietro.
The significance to this is that the Islanders shockingly traded Luongo on
draft day last summer to make room for DiPietro. Ever since then Luongo has
criticized the Islanders for trading them, and has been seeking revenge
against his former team ever since.