2009 preview: New York Islanders

How much an impact will John Tavares have on this squad this season?

No matter what happens with this team for the next few years, this is Tavares’ team. He’ll be expected to lead the Islanders back to the playoffs.

But Islanders fans will have to be patient with him. Allow him time to grow up and learn how to deal with the media, expectations and opposing players.

And if he has that time, he’ll be a superstar in this league.

Story of the season: Who will be the #1 goalie? The Islanders have three guys that they can use: Rick DiPietro, Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron. That’s $8.4 million between the three of them, so expect one to be traded as the season wears on. If DiPietro can stay healthy, and that’s a big if, he’ll be the #1. If he can’t, it’s anyone’s job.

Former Habs:Mark Streit

Blog to follow: Lighthouse Hockey

TV commercial break

Pool Picks: Doug Weight. He missed quite a bit of time last year because of injuries. He’s still a quality player who can get you 60 points if he can stay healthy. Stay away from:John Tavares (kind of). Expect Tavares to have the kind of year Steve Stamkos had last year in Tampa Bay. Lots of expectations, a slow start, and a final point total around 45.

Award nominees:Mark Streit for the Norris (who else would you pick from this team to win an award)

Expected Finish: Fifth in the Atlantic, 14th in the East

Cheerleader: The Islanders have ice girls, and aren’t scared to show them off.

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