Sunday, February 19, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

The Islanders swept the season series from the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night, downing them 4-3 at Nassau Coliseum. The game featured a Kyle Okposo opening goal just 2:07 after the first puck dropped, and John Tavares regained his scoring touch with two goals, the second of which won the game.

Tavares' 24 goals leave him one off the team pace (Matt Moulson) and back to a point-per-game pace for the season. There isn't a fan in the world who is worried about his production.

P.A. Parenteau, quietly having a whopper of a season, at least assists-wise, helped on two goals and his line now reads 12-41-53. The point total matches his career high, set a year ago.

Parenteau, the 28-year old New York Rangers castoff, will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season.

The Islanders, whose record improved to 25-25-8 on the season, sit just 6 points out of a playoff spot, but still in 12th place overall in the Eastern Conference. The "playoffs" talk in the dressing room and from the coach is thoroughly optimistic, but is it realistic?

With just four more games left for the Isles to play until the trading deadline arrives (February 27th, 3PM Eastern time), should this team be buyers or sellers?

Throw in a completely unsettled situation in goal, with Evegeni Nabokov and Al Montoya set to become free agents as well, and General Manager Garth Snow has a potential mountain of scenarios to sift through.

Trade one of the goalies? Sign one long-term? Which one?

It's no secret that this team needs to upgrade their defensive corps (Travis Hamonic will resume skating this coming week, incidentally), their secondary scoring, and could use a bodyguard for their star center. Can dealing a veteran bring back anything of value?

With scouts on hand last evening from Philadelphia, Dallas, and elsewhere to get their looks at the talent in Garth's stable, the pressure may be mounting on other league GM's to pick some of that Long Island fruit.

I asked Parenteau, who at this point is easily the most coveted unsigned talent the Islanders have moving forward to 2012-2013, for his outlook at this uncertain time of the year.

"I really think we can pull this off," he said, referring to a playoff push that he expects his team to make. "For the other things," he continued, "we'll deal with them when we get there." He added, "I'm really focused on the playoffs."

With young talent waiting in the wings, so to speak, such as Kevin Poulin (who recorded 33 saves in the win), Ryan Strome, Kirill Kabanov, and perhaps Kirill Petrov, can Garth afford to do nothing?

I leave the question open to you, Islanders fans. Should the team be buyers or sellers this week? Please leave your comments in the section below. As always, thanks for reading.

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