WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Josh Bailey #12 of the New York Islanders scores at 4:14 of the first period against the Washington Capitals and is joined by Frans Nielsen #51 (L) at the Verizon Center on February 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Gone fishin' on Long Island
The New York Islanders picked up two impressive victories over the Bruins and Devils this past weekend, they're only five points out 8th in the East, but sit 13th in the conference. They're unlikely to make the playoffs, and will act as spoilers - there are some players to watch. Some players do fine when there the pressure isn't on, Frans Nielsen strikes me as that kind of player. He's already signed his contract extension and the 'playoff run' isn't materializing. After a horrid start he's gotten back on track - averaging nearly 18 minutes a game. His line mate is Josh Bailey, anytime a young player with upside pots 4 goals in 4 games, you gotta take notice. It took him 60 games to get 6, and the last 4 to get 4 - has he turned a corner? I think yes.
Gone fishin' continued...
Then there's the third line which features Casey Cizikas and Kyle Okposo, both fairly similar players who rely on their physical play and chip in with some offense occasionally. Cizikas is only 6 games into his NHL hockey career so he's a kid to keep on your radar. As for Okposo he's got a boat load of potential but is very inconsistent, gotta ride the streaks. If you're looking for depth on the blue line, Andrew MacDonald is the second most likely Islander defenceman (after Mark Streit) to get on the score sheet. I like those odds. Finally, this one is strictly a keeper pickup, Anders Nilsson has been awesome with Bridgeport of the AHL, and shut-out the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. He could be the answer in goal for the Islanders.
Need a 'Tender?
We have a Steve Mason sighting. He was seen earning a shut-out in Colorado, then surfaced again with a victory in Phoenix. What does this all mean? Pick him up because he's going to be playing a lot of games from here on out. Curtis Sanford has fallen out of favor, and now it's Steve Mason's crease again. His last two showings have been great, lets see if it continues - pick him up ASAP. Another goalie whose actually playing games that mean something is Ray Emery. He's started the last five games in a row, keeping his SV% better than .921 in all five - not bad at all. He'll be playing more if he keeps playing like this.
If your team needs an injury replacement, or just needs to make a change at the bottom of your roster - these guys are riding hot streaks right now: Curtis Glencross, Nik Antropov, Ryan Malone. I know, boring, they'll be cold eventually.