It's no secret amongst NHL fans that the Islanders' perils on the ice have resulted in the once proud franchise being relegated to perennial basement dweller. While the franchise continues to toil in a state of flux both on and off the ice, there are still those who remain cautiously optimistic. After all, with a cupboard of young players like John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, Nino Niederreiter and a plethora of promising young defensemen, what's not to like?
Well for starters, there's a harsh dose of realism. A flashy 4-2-1 start to the season piqued the interest of most. After losing Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo for an extended period of time, and with Tavares going down early in the season opener, others relished the opportunity like Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau who suddenly appeared to be fantasy steals in the making. As a closet Islanders fan, I have to admit that even I was cautiously optimistic by the club's start, but things quickly came crashing down.
Now the Islanders certainly are not a major team of interest for owners in short term fantasy leagues. Chances are the only Islanders in small leagues might be Tavares and James Wisniewski; with Okposo and Streit lingering on an IR somewhere, poised to be hopeful boosts when they return to full health. Where the Islanders do come into play, however, are the more comprehensive keeper leagues. Looking around the NHL, you'd be hard pressed to find a more rounded group of players under the age of 23, giving the Islanders no shortage of valuable pieces to supplement your long-term plan in a keeper league.
Where the concern comes into play, however, is that this team lacks a sense of direction, and with some of the most recent off-ice antics to derive from Long Island, these concerns should be paramount for poolies looking to invest in New York Islanders prospects. It's become no secret that team owner Charles Wang is one of the most bizarre owners in the league, and his hands on approach has undoubtedly cost this team heavily. Whether you want to focus on the Alexei Yashin contract, or the Rick DiPietro contract, or how the team has flip-flopped general managers and coaches, there's plenty of cause for conern.
As an avid keeper league general manager, it's getting to the point where drafting New York Islanders prospects in fantasy hockey is almost like drafting Russian Players for NHL Clubs. Sure, John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit can make it on any fantasy club. But how much is their upside impacted from playing with the Islanders? How much can you really expect out of a 20 year old Tavares who is left to play with Matt Moulson and PA Parenteau on the "top" line? Sure, you're going