|John Tavares (AP)|
The Islanders have a great young franchise player in John Tavares to build around, and if he continues on his current path that six-year contract extension he signed is going to be a steal before it runs out.
Line 2: Josh Bailey- Frans Nielsen -- Sean Bergenheim
My vote for the most underrated player in the NHL goes to Frans Nielsen. A sensational defensive forward and he has some offensive ability to his game as well. An absolute steal for the Islanders right now, both in terms of where they got him in the draft, and how little his contract counts against the salary cap.
Ten years ago Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt, top-10 selections in the same draft class, were supposed to be two of the cornerstones of the Islanders franchise going forward. It didn't quite work out, but that doesn't mean they didn't become solid NHLers (because they did). They just didn't end up being guys that could change the course a franchise.
Offensive scratch: Petteri Nokelainen
Of all the bad trades Mike Milbury made in New York, the Alexei Yashin trade is one of the all-timers as he sent Chara, the second overall pick in the draft (Jason Spezza) and Bill Muckalt to Ottawa. When you consider that the Islanders are still paying Yashin today to not play for them it's even more incredible.
I really like what Travis Hamonic has shown in the NHL to this point and he seemed to be the defenseman Jack Capuano leaned on the most last season to play big minutes.
Defensive scratch: Andrew MacDonald
Goalies: Roberto Luongo Rick DiPietro
Speaking of bad trades: Roberto Luongo, not long after being a top-five selection in the draft, was sent to the Florida Panthers (along with Olli Jokinen) for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish. The Islanders then turned around and used the No. 1 overall pick in the draft on Rick DiPietro, selecting him over Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik.