Thomas Vitkowski is a CPA who is a panel member on CNBC’s Investor Round Table and former longtime Islanders Season Ticket Holder.
New York Islanders: Sell
It was certainly not that start the Islanders would have hoped for. Zero wins in 3 tries on the road, a lot of late goals allowed, an agent complaining about the 3 headed goalie monster, more complaints about the ice in Brooklyn and one win in 5 tries versus the Eastern Conference all of which adds up to a 4-5 record and 6th place in the standings. A far cry from the 6-2-3 start last year. It’s early, but there is a lot of reason for concern.
Garth Snow: SELL
While I give him a lot of credit for the Reinhart trade in the summer of 2015, the 2016 offseason has not looked impressive in the early going. With Okposo, Nielsen and Martin leaving the Islanders needed to replace 52 goals and 2 of their top 3 scorers. So far Ladd has been dreadful and Chimera has not been much better. Okposo (who was never even pursued) is the Sabres leading scorer and Parenteau, (who I thought was a nice signing) wasn’t even given a chance and picked up by the Devils scoring 3 goals in October. Okposo and Parenteau both have more goals then Bailey and Ladd combined who got most of the 1st line ice time with JT in the month. JT needs to play with guys who can finish and right now they are not getting it done. We have seen this story over and over with Bailey, while his stats have been ok in the early going, he clearly is not a 1st line player. He scored a nice goal in OT on an individual move, but the only other goal he scored in the month was a garbage goal late in the 5-1 blow out of Toronto while logging the 2nd most minutes of any forward on the team. Ladd hasn’t remotely looked like a 7 yr/38.5m player and has been since demoted from the top line. The one bright spot has been Seidenberg, but overall through one month into the season this team looks worse than it did last year.
Power Play: SELL
3 goals the entire month in 25 chances for a whopping 12%. For the Islanders to be successful they have to be able to take advantage on the power play. While no one has been a stand out, once again you have to wonder why the coaching staff continues to trot Bailey out on PP1. He went another 25+ minutes on the PP this month without a point. For those of you counting it now makes 1 point on the power play during the regular season in his last 110 minutes on the power play. Everyone needs to be better, but the personnel choices are baffling. Why not move Nelson and Boychuk up to the 1st unit? Can it really hurt at this point?
Brock Nelson: BUY
Nelson has had a solid start to the season, leading the team in scoring with 9 points while posting a +4 for October. He scored in all but 2 of the games which is nice to see as consistency has been a problem for him throughout his career. It’s clear that Nelson is going to have to be a key contributor should the Islanders want to succeed this year. Hopefully he can get Ladd going in November.
Road Games: SELL
The Islanders have in recent years been a strong team on the road. With only 3 road games in the month, they failed to secure 1 point. Even worse they did not hold a lead in any of those games. The Islanders won 22 and 20 games on the road the last 2 years so it’s going to be critical they turn this around in November. In recent years a west coast trip has jump started this team, hopefully history can repeat itself.
Dennis Seidenberg: BUY
When the Islanders signed Dennis Seidenberg in late September for a million dollars it was an afterthought. Most figured this was just a move for depth on defense and he would be used in the Brian Strait 7th defenseman role. Instead he has played in every game so far averaging 18+ minutes a night and is the surprise plus/minus leader in the early going at +8. As an added bonus he added 2 goals and 4 points during the month and has been one of the few pleasant surprises in the early going.
Anthony Beauvillier: BUY
The 19 year old was a surprise addition to the opening night roster and so far he has not disappointed. Only averaging a little over 11 minutes a game, he has managed to score 5 points in 8 games and go +5 in the month. He has even been given an opportunity to get some ice time with JT recently. It will be interesting to see if the Islanders let him get to game 10 and trigger the 1st year of his contract, but regardless you have to be impressed with what we have seen so far. If he does stay Capuano needs to increase his ice time, he has earned it.
What’s on tap for November: The long home stretch of 10 out of 11 continues with 4 more games concluding with Vancouver on the 7th. In another bizarre scheduling situation, the Islanders play Tampa all 3 times in November. They play the Pens twice at home, and go on a 1 week 3 game west coast trip later in the month.