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Scouting The Enemy: New York Islanders, Forward Edition

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Florida's opening round opponent is the New York Islanders. Today, we'll take an in-depth look at their forward corps.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Florida's fifth-ever Stanley Cup Playoff appearance (and second this millennium) starts against the New York Islanders. The Islanders, although they've been to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, haven't won a playoff series since 1993. For the next three days, we'll preview the Islanders, player by player. Today, the forwards. Scouting reports are courtesy of www.sportsforecaster.com.

First Line

Frans Nielsen

Nielsen, a 6'1", 188 lb. center from Herning, Denmark, is a 31-year-old 10-year veteran of the Islanders. They selected him in the third round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft with the 87th overall pick.

Assets: A smooth operater, he's extremely heady and a good playmaker. Makes his linemates better in the offensive zone. Has a wealth of two-way ability and setup skills. Is a big asset on both special teams.
Flaws: Is a bit thin for the National Hockey League, so injuries can be an issue for him. Doesn't always shoot the puck enough, so he can afford to be more selfish so as to keep defenses honest.
Career Potential: Skilled, veteran two-way center.


Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

606

119

230

349

+4

112

This Season

81

20

32

52

-1

12

Last 10

10

1

5

6

+3

0

vs. Florida

27

1

13

14

-16

2



John Tavares

Tavares is a 6'1", 211 lb. 25-year-old center from Mississauga, Ontario. He was the first overall selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, by these same Islanders.

Assets: Boasts the hand/eye coordination, imagination and hockey sense of an offensive stud. Doesn't shy away from heavy traffic areas, and is a constant top-end threat when roaming around an opponent's goal. Is extremely determined to be the best he can be. Scores goals with a great shot and is also a great passer.
Flaws: Isn't nearly as good in the skating department as many of his peers in the National Hockey League. His top-end speed is below-average. Also, he's only an average defensive player and doesn't have a physical edge to his game. Also, he can be prone to extensive goal-scoring slumps (though he contributes in other ways).
Career Potential: Elite franchise center.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

510

207

264

471

-34

243

This Season

78

33

37

70

+6

38

Last 10

10

7

7

14

+3

2

vs. Florida

22

8

9

17

-5

8

Kyle Okposo

Okposo is a 27-year-old, 6', 217 lb. right winger from St. Paul, Minnesota, and a first round selection of the Islanders in the 2006 NHL entry draft, seventh overall.

Assets: Has terrific scoring ability and the mentality of a sniper. Can play a big man's game when necessary and owns an excellent skating stride. Possesses a lethal shot and a pretty good nose for the net.
Flaws: Doesn't know how good he can be, which can be frustrating for his coaches. Tends to wear down over the course of an 82-game schedule, so durability is a concern. His defensive game is only average.
Career Potential: Inconsistent, talented scoring winger.


Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

529

139

230

369

-60

310

This Season

79

22

42

64

-4

51

Last 10

10

2

6

8

+3

2

vs. Florida

23

5

7

12

-11

18


Second Line

Nikolai Kulemin

Kulemin, a 6'1", 225 lb. left winger from Magnitogorsk, USSR, was initially drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Now 29-years-old, he's in his second season with the Islanders and his eighth season overall.

Assets: Has sound instincts at both ends of the ice. A mobile skater with a keen sense of anticipation, he owns the complementary skill to play with elite talent. Smart and physically strong, he can play either wing position. Is defensively responsible.
Flaws: Simply does not shoot the puck enough to be a big scoring winger at the highest level. Doesn't bury enough of his chances to maximize offensive production in the NHL. Doesn't always utilize his physical gifts. Can be prone to prolonged scoring funks.
Career Potential:

Versatile, veteran complementary winger.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

584

108

140

248

+12

155

This Season

81

9

13

22

+13

22

Last 10

10

3

3

6

-

6

vs. Florida

28

4

4

8

-5

8

Josh Bailey

Bailey is a 6'1", 210 lb. 26-year-old center from Bowmanville, Ontario. The Islanders chose him in the first round of the 2008 draft, ninth overall, and he is in his eighth NHL season, all with the Isles.

Assets: Is a supremely intelligent player with good offensive skills. Can play either wing position (he played center in junior hockey). Can also play sound defense and score some big goals. Owns a projectable frame.
Flaws: Needs to crank up the intensity, as well as his game-to-game consistency. Tends to pass off in prime scoring areas and should shoot more. Needs to continue adding more bulk to his 6-1 frame in order to maximize output.
Career Potential: Inconsistent, talented and versatile forward.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

557

93

157

250

-37

169

This Season

81

12

20

32

-7

22

Last 10

10

0

3

3

-10

2

vs. Florida

26

6

6

12

+5

8

Brock Nelson

Nelson is a 6'3", 206 lb. center from Warroad, Minnesota. The Islanders picked him in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft with the 30th overall selection.

Assets: Has excellent size, as well as good two-way instincts. His hands are also an asset, especially right around the net. Can play either wing position or center and is beastly in the corners.
Flaws: Needs more work on his playmaking ability to maximize production at the highest level, especially to play center. Also needs to work on his game-to-game consistency. Lacks some physicality.
Career Potential: Big, versatile two-way forward with a little upside.

Term

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

235

60

48

108

-7

66

Season

81

26

14

40

-3

30

Last 10

10

2

2

4

0

4

vs. Florida

9

1

1

2

-1

2



Third Line

Ryan Strome

Strome is a 6'1", 199 lb. center from Mississauga, Ontario. The Islanders chose him in the first round of the 2011 draft with the fifth overall pick.

Assets: Has superlative offensive acumen and quickness. Can really make defenders look silly, thanks to a great dangle and offensive instincts. Can play either wing or center.
Flaws: Must continue to work on his play without the puck, as well as get physically stronger, in order to maximize output at the NHL level. Needs to shoot the puck more often.
Career Potential:

Talented, versatile offensive forward with some upside.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

189

32

64

96

+13

83

This Season

71

8

20

28

-9

28

Last 10

10

0

4

4

-4

2

vs. Florida

9

3

1

4

-7

2


Alan Quine

Quine is a 5'11", 190 lb. center from Belleville, Ontario. The 23-year-old was a sixth round selection of the Islanders in the NHL Entry Draft of 2013, 166th overall.

Assets: Works very hard to improve his game. Can put up solid numbers and be an asset on special teams at lower levels. Adds a modicum of grit, too.
Flaws: Lacks high-end skill and also ideal size for the National Hockey League game, reducing him to bottom-six forward minutes at the highest level.
Career Potential: Depth forward with a little upside.

Term

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

2

1

0

1

0

0

Season

2

1

0

1

0

0

Last 10

2

1

0

1

0

0

vs. Florida

0

0

0

0

0

0


Steve Bernier

Bernier is a 6'3", 220 lb. right winger from Quebec City, Quebec. Now 31-year-old, the former Panther was initally chosen by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, 16th overall.

Assets: Owns good size and can play the role of power forward effectively in short spurts. Is also a decent penalty killer. May have found his niche (finally) as an energy winger, though he still boasts some decent scoring ability.
Flaws: Lacks consistency in all areas of the game. His skating holds him back in terms of being a consistent scoring threat. His physical conditioning has been an issue in the past, and it's cost him at the National Hockey League level.
Career Potential: Physical depth winger.


Term

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

633

105

125

230

-13

300

Season

24

1

5

6

+3

9

Last 10

10

0

3

3

+2

2

vs. Florida

12

4

2

6

+5

12


Fourth Line

Matt Martin

Martin is a 6'3", 215 lb. left winger from Windsor, Ontario. Now 26-years-old, he's in his sixth NHL season.

Assets: Is an elite body checker and always finishes his hits. Loves to play a rugged, physical style, and he has the body and right frame of mind to back it up. Has some offensive ability, too.
Flaws: Doesn't produce enough offense to play a top-six forward role in the National Hockey League. At times, he can be guilty of taking bad penalties that hurt his team. Lacks defensive polish.
Career Potential:

Dominant physical winger.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

438

42

46

88

-46

680

This Season

80

10

9

19

+2

119

Last 10

10

3

0

3

+2

25

vs. Florida

18

1

3

4

-1

13

Casey Cizikas

Cizikas is a 5'11", 201 lb. 25-year-old center from Toronto, Ontario. The Islanders chose him in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft with the 92nd overall pick.

Assets: Displays a great work rate and plenty of checking ability. Is more leader than follower and owns plenty of grit. Excels on a checking unit and can also kill penalties. Agitates, too.
Flaws: Doesn't have ideal size for the National Hockey League, so he can wear down over the course of an 82-game schedule while playing his rather abrasive game.
Career Potential: Agitating checking center.

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

290

29

54

83

-9

105

This Season

80

8

22

30

+4

31

Last 10

10

1

3

4

0

4

vs. Florida

13

2

2

4

0

10

Cal Clutterbuck

Clutterbuck is a 28-year-old native of Welland, Ontario. A 5'11", 218 lb. right winger, he was a third round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild. He made his way to the Islanders via a trade during the 2013 offseason, for a third round pick.

Assets: Excels at the hitting game. Is also a true shift disturber. Has excellent drive and determination. Plays a sound defensive game. Is versatile, industrious and gritty. Can also produce some offense in a complementary role.
Flaws: Must stay out of the penalty box, since he can take very ill-timed penalties. Can also deliver questionable hits on occasion. The jury is still out on his ability to produce points consistently at the National Hockey League level.
Career Potential: Big-hitting, versatile energy winger.


Games

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

Career

572

96

72

168

-28

459

This Season

77

15

8

23

+7

22

Last 10

10

2

1

3

0

6

vs. Florida

13

2

2

4

-4

8



Check back here tomorrow for a look at the Islanders blueliners.