Islanders Officially Announce 23-Man Roster

The New York Islanders officially announced there 23-man roster for the 2015 season. Per the Isles official press-release:

Lineup Features 14 Forwards, Seven Defensemen and Two Goalies

UNIONDALE, NY (October 7, 2014) – The New York Islanders announced today their 23-man roster as they enter the 2014-15 season. The lineup includes 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.

Josh Bailey
Eric Boulton
Casey Cizikas
Cal Clutterbuck
Cory Conacher
Mikhail Grabovski
Nikolay Kulemin
Matt Martin
Colin McDonald
Brock Nelson
Frans Nielsen
Kyle Okposo
Ryan Strome
John Tavares

Johnny Boychuk
Matt Donovan
Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey
Nick Leddy
Griffin Reinhart
Brian Strait

Jaroslav Halak
Chad Johnson

Injured Reserve
Matt Carkner
Calvin de Haan
Michael Grabner
Lubomir Visnovsky

And according to Arthur Staple of Newsday, the Isles lines are set to be as follows:

#Isles lines will look like this Fri.: Conacher-Tavares-Okposo, Grabovski-Nelson-Strome, Bailey-Nielsen-Kulemin, Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck.

Extra fwds are McDonald and Boulton. On D: Leddy-Boychuk, Hickey-Hamonic, Strait-Reinhart, w/Donovan extra. Halak will be in goal. #Isles

Conacher starting on the first line may be confusing to some, but he did perform very well with the Tampa Bay Lightning when placed on the top line with Steven Stamkos. One would also have to assume that he can produe similar results with another elite center in John Tavares as well.

Jack Capuano has also elected to not play Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin together, despite their prior production history when paired together in Toronto.

However, both Frans Nielsen and Nikolay Kulemin have excelled when at the defensive-forward position. But Nielsen is coming off a great offensive year and Kulemin is looking to find his offensive game that he had in the past. The two may provide exactly what the Islanders need on the third line; defensive forwards that are capable of also leading on the scoresheet. 

It also appears that Capuano may only want Ryan Strome in the line-up if he can play in a top-six position. He will have to do so with Anders Lee, whom he had a lot of chemistry with last year.

Although Lee was the last cut to be sent back to Bridgeport, fans can certainly expect to see him at some point in the near future. He will likely play himself out of the minors, or get another chance when injuries inevitably strike. 

Either way, for the first time in years, Islanders fans are getting to see a team that is finally challenging their prospects to earn roster spots due to the new, veteran depth that has been gained in the off-season. The Isles are structuring their roster to win hockey games, as opposed to providing a very young line-up with some players that were still looking to learn the NHL game. 

It's going to be a very exciting weekend. 

-Rob McGowan


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