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New York Islanders

Can Dobson, Greene Really Fill Hole Left After Toews Trade?

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Noah Dobson

Going into this unique offseason, it was apparent the New York Islanders had difficult decisions to make with the flat cap.

That first real casualty came in the form of trading defenseman Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche for a pair of second-round draft picks.

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As was posited on this site before the start of free agency, the Islanders didn’t have a ton of space to make a splashy move and Lou Lamoriello needed to keep his focus on the team’s own restricted free agents. By dealing Toews, it left the Islanders more room in the future with cap space. In the short run, it doesn’t affect the cap space the team has this offseason, but it could help them make moves to free up some space.

But the Islanders also had to consider what the contracts they would end up paying out to their other big restricted free agents — Ryan Pulock and Mathew Barzal. Coupled with uncertainty of what the salary cap situation for the entire league might look like over the next few years, the Toews trade makes sense under that context.

Devon Toews Traded to Colorado for Second Round Picks

“Any time you see one of your friends and teammates traded, it sucks,’’ Anders Lee said this earlier week. “It’s not fun. It’s part of our business, that side of it. Devon is a great guy and a great player, and you wish him nothing but the best in Colorado.”

On its face, the loss of Toews is a tough one for the Islanders for a number of reasons. He was a key piece on the power play and he excelled in his possession metrics.

According to Hockey Reference, Toews had a 6.1 Corsi relative percentage last season, which was the best among the team’s defensemen. It did take a dip to 1.1 percent in New York’s extended postseason run and he struggled in the Eastern Conference Final, but Toews was an integral puck-moving blue liner for the Islanders the last two seasons.

So where do the Islanders get those minutes and production from now that Toews is in another uniform?

Well, the easy answer is to say Noah Dobson comes in and becomes a full-time player after an impressive 34-game stint in 2019-20. In fact, Dobson’s 4.8 Corsi relative percentage was the best among Islanders defenseman after Toews, albeit in about half the games played.

But Dobson’s pedigree and ability to play well within the defensive zone have made him a valuable piece of the puzzle going forward. When the Islanders made the deal with Colorado, Lamoriello said the team would not have even considered the move had they not had Dobson already in the mix.

“We would not have made this move if the ice time that Devon received, we didn’t have the ability to put a player into that,” Lamoriello said. “And Noah Dobson, we feel, is certainly ready to take the next step.”

The issue here is Dobson is a right-handed defenseman, so it’s pretty safe to assume he won’t be sliding to the left side. So that leaves the Islanders with a hole on the left. Andy Greene will likely don orange and blue next season and would be the top candidate to play alongside Dobson from the outset. But in turning 38 this coming season, it will be interesting to see what Greene can provide not only in minutes but in quality play down the stretch.

The Islanders did re-up with left-handed shooting Sebastian Aho earlier this month, and though he only has 22 NHL games under his belt, he’s still just 24 years old and gives the Islanders a little more depth on the left side.

There are options to fill the hole on defense, but there are plenty of question marks if the Islanders can still replicate — or get close to — the numbers Toews had with the New York Islanders.

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New York Islanders

On Campus: Islanders Prospect Christian Krygier Scores in MSU Season Opener

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Christian Krygier

The NHL is still trying to work out details about its return for next season, but several of the New York Islanders collegiate prospects returned to action this past weekend.

Hockey like other sports in the NCAA has had to deal with COVID-19 cancellations, but defenseman Christian Krygier and Michigan State University opened their season against Arizona State over the weekend. The Michigan State junior recorded his first career collegiate goal in Michigan State’s 1-1 tie on Nov. 19.

The goal came on his only shot of the game and he finished the night a plus-1. Christian Krygier recorded two shots the following night as Michigan State picked up their first win of the season.

Christian Krygier was selected by the Islanders 196th overall in 2018.

The week prior week, Notre Dame forward and Islanders prospect, Jacob Pivonka, began play with a season-opening series against Wisconson.  Pivonka appeared in both games for Notre Dame but did not register any points.

Pivonka was also drafted in 2018.

For other Islanders prospects in the NCAA, their seasons will begin in the coming weeks. Alex Jefferies, who was selected 121st overall in this year’s draft will begin his freshman season at Merrimack College on Dec. 4 against Maine.

Senior defenseman Benjamin Mirageas and Providence College open their season on Dec. 4 as well against Northeastern and Boston University senior forward Logan Cockerill kicks things off against Vermont on the same day. Both players were drafted in 2017 by the Islanders.

Islanders sixth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft Collin Adams begins his senior season on Dec. 2 when North Dakota University plays Miami (Ohio).

Misha Song, who was selected in 2015 and became the first Chinese-born player to be selected in the NHL Draft, won’t be on the ice this season after the Ivy League announced it was canceling winter sports because of COVID-19. Song plays for Cornell University.

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New York Islanders

Isles Jon Ledecky Named one of Long Island’s Power 100 by City & State

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Jon Ledecky

Among the Long Island politicians and business leaders on this year’s City & State Long Island Power 100 list was a familiar name to New York Islanders fans.

Team co-owner Jon Ledecky was 53rd on the annual list of Long Island’s most powerful and influential people. It was the second consecutive year that Ledecky was on the list put out by City & State, which covers state and local politics in New York.

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“Jon Ledecky, the co-owner of the New York Islanders, has seen major progress in the construction of the new UBS Arena at Belmont Park, where the Islanders expect to play for the 2021-2022 NHL season,” City & State wrote about the Islanders owner.  “The home opener next year will signal a new beginning for the home team following a contentious exodus to Brooklyn after being ousted from Nassau Coliseum.”

Ledecky was ranked 49th in 2019 after he, along with Scott Malkin, returned the Islanders to Nassau County and they were selected by New York State to develop an arena and retail district at Belmont Park.

As the co-owner of Long Island’s lone major professional sports franchise, it isn’t too much of a surprise to see Ledecky’s name on the City & State list. While the Islanders can be overlooked in the market, they still have a significant impact on the Long Island economy, and the development at Belmont Park goes beyond just hockey and the Islanders.

There are a few names that Islanders fans may also remember from the team’s attempts to renovate the Nassau Coliseum.

RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler ranked 16th. Rechler had partnered with former Islanders owner Charles Wang on his proposed Lighthouse Project, which was eventually killed by the Town of Hempstead in 2010. Rechler and RXR are currently working on a redevelopment plan for the 72 acres that surround the current Nassau Coliseum.

Congressman Tom Suozzi, who was then the county executive of Nassau Coliseum during the Lighthouse Project, was listed at 11 and current county executive and supporter of the Islanders project at Belmont Park, Laura Curren was ranked second by City & State.

Sticking with the Lighthouse/referendum era, New York State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs was fourth on the Power 100. Jacobs was one of the lead opponents to the Islanders 2011 arena referendum and he famously suggested during an interview on WFAN that the Islanders sell personal seat licenses to fund a new building.

Vocal Belmont support and New York State senator Todd Kaminsky was listed seventh by City & State.

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Arena News

Deal with Coliseum Lease Holder Allows Isles to Play There During Restrictions

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Nassau Coliseum

An agreement between Nassau County and new Nassau Coliseum leaseholder Nassau Live Center LLC would allow for the New York Islanders to use the Coliseum during the COVID-19 restrictions should the NHL season start up in 2021, According to Newsday.

Nassau Live Center LLC, which is run by Florida businessman Nick Mastroianni II, took over operations of the Nassau Coliseum in August after Mikhail Prokhorov owned Onexim Sports and Entertainment shuttered the building earlier this year. The new arrangement between the County and Mastroianni would allow for Mastroianni to forgo the $4 million a month rent payments to Nassau County until at least next summer.

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As part of that, the Islanders would be allowed to play at the Coliseum with or without fans in the building next season. The 2020-21 season is the Islanders final one before they move to UBS Arena at Belmont Park.

In September Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters that the Islanders would play their final year before Belmont at Nassau Coliseum despite the uncertainty at the time surrounding the use of the county-owned facility.

“We will definitely be playing at the Coliseum next year. That is a confirmation,” Lamoriello said in September.

Off The Record: COVID Affect On NHL Season, Big Names Could Hit NHL Trade Market | NYHN+

The NHL is targeting a Jan. 1 start date, but there is no firm plan in place yet on how the league will start by that date. Among the many aspects the NHL is trying to plan for is whether or not they will use hub cities to begin the year or have teams play in their home arenas.

An amendment was also agreed upon, according to Newsday, that would give Mastroianni “until six months after the state lifts restrictions on arena events” to submit a plan to the County for the Nassau Coliseum. Oak View Group, which is a part owner and operator of the Islanders new arena at Belmont Park, proposed downsizing the Coliseum to a 5,000 seat music-focused venue.

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