Newsday's Arthur Staple looks at five questions facing the Islanders as they prepare for Friday's season opener against the Devils.
1. Can they sustain last season's modest success?
John Tavares and his under-30 band of Isles need to push the tempo and keep teams on their heels. |
2. Where are the Isles' greatest weaknesses?
In goal, where 38-year-old Evgeni Nabokov and backup Kevin Poulin do not form a fearsome duo. |
3. How will they replace former captain Mark Streit on defense?
With rookie Matt Donovan, who tied for the lead in scoring among defensemen in the AHL last season. Minutes should be distributed a bit more evenly among the defense corps this season. |
4. Who will be the newest Islander to watch?
Rookie Brock Nelson, whose steady, confident play at center and wing in the preseason has him in the opening-night lineup. |
5. Which Islander can ill afford a subpar season?
Matt Moulson, who is the most reliable goal-scorer on the team but playing out his contract year with loads of young forward prospects pushing for time in Bridgeport. |