Now that I’ve returned to the keyboard after injuring some fingers in a work accident, I’m ready to tell you about the New York Islanders. A team that snuck into the Stanley Cup Finals last year, these guys are ready for this season. With the addition of Cal Clutterbuck, the team looks to be a fierce offensive and defensive team. Clutterbuck is actually my first player I will discuss as a rising star for the Islanders.
Wielding the green Minnesota Wild jersey last year, Cal Clutterbuck only managed to score 10 pnts (4G, 6A) in 42 regular season games. In his short, 5-game playoff run, he recorded one goal and one assist for two points total. He wasn’t a big player for the Wild, but he can light some sparks this year in the blue and orange uniform. As an Islander, I think he will be able to record close to 65 points, if he can play a full 82-game season. If he is careful, he will be able to be exactly what the Isles are looking for.
Michael Grabner is known for his speed out on the ice. Although he is fast, he only notched 21 points in 45 games. With his 16 goals last season, he wasn’t much help for the team, but 16 goals could make or break a playoff berth. This year I project that he uses his speed more effectively and dominates the offensive zone. I’m looking to see 80-90 points from this guy, who recorded a +4 rating last season, and a +2 rating in the playoffs. Grabner is fast, and he is definitely going to be a star for the Islanders this season.
Last but not least, I have to mention Thomas Hickey. While playing for the Manchester Monarchs (AHL Affiliate), he recorded 12 points and a +12 rating. When joining the NHL players back from the lockout, he played in 39 games, and only recorded 4 points. That is pretty low, but his +9 rating was good. He is a good player who can be a great defenseman. Especially since last season was his first NHL season since being drafted in 2007, he has a lot of room to advance, and I think his sophomore season will be a great one.
These are my choices for rising stars on Long Island. Let me know who you think deserves to be on this list. You can Tweet us @TMMotS and myself @NardoneDylan. I can’t wait to hear your feedback, and it is great to be back writing to you guys (and girls!).