Islanders have tough decision to make with Okposo as deadline approaches

Jared Clinton
Kyle Okposo (Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

It doesn’t seem likely the Lightning will move Steven Stamkos, their captain and top goal scorer, before the trade deadline on Feb. 29, and the reasons why are obvious.

Tampa Bay has been one of the best teams over the past few weeks, appear to be turning it on at the right time and look like Stanley Cup contenders after a slow start. In a conference that looks wide open outside of the stellar Washington Capitals, the Lightning could be staring down consecutive Stanley Cup appearances. With that in mind, moving Stamkos, a goal scorer with game-breaking ability, would be unwise unless the return is impossible to pass up or the Lightning are positive their captain is gone come free agency. Even then, it’s hard to fathom.

Which brings us to the New York Islanders’ situation with Kyle Okposo. Okposo, like Stamkos, is in the prime of his career. The 27-year-old is the type of big body scorer that can excel in the post-season. He’s a two-time 20-goal scorer and could be the perfect top-six asset for a team ready to take the next step. He could fetch a nice return for the Islanders.

Like Tampa Bay, though, the Islanders are currently holding down a post-season spot and are in the thick of the Eastern Conference’s wild-card race. And just like Tampa Bay with Stamkos, the Islanders could risk losing the unrestricted free agent-to-be Okposo for nothing if they don’t deal him. It all adds up to New York GM Garth Snow having a tough decision to make as deadline day approaches. Read more

Five players who could go out on top this season

Shane Doan (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

The question everyone wanted answered following Sunday’s Super Bowl was if it was the final game of Peyton Manning’s career.

Manning, 39, has been one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen, and while Sunday may not have been the best game of his career, it would be a fitting, storybook ending to his career.

The possibility of Manning retiring on top hits home across professional sports. It’s the way every player wants to go out, but the way few rarely get to. That said, we’ve seen similar retirements in the NHL before. Most famously, there was Ray Bourque’s Stanley Cup-winning goodbye to the league. After him, there was Mark Recchi’s post-Cup retirement announcement, and the pre-Cup announcement from Kimmo Timonen in 2014-15 that, Stanley Cup or not, he was hanging up his skates following the season. Luckily, his career got to end with him triumphantly hoisting the Cup.

One player missing from our list of five who could go out on top is Jaromir Jagr. The 43-year-old has made it clear he’s got at least one more year in him. So, whether the Panthers win it all or come up short, he’s not going out on top if he wins this season. Here are five players without contracts for next season who stand a chance to make their last on-ice moment include the Stanley Cup: Read more

Islanders’ Brock Nelson using shot, versatility to become ‘dangerous player’

Jared Clinton
Brock Nelson (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

In his rookie season, Brock Nelson scored 14 times. He followed that up with a 20-goal sophomore campaign. Now in his third year with the New York Islanders, Nelson is on pace for the first 30-goal season of his career.

It’s not as if Nelson’s scoring the majority of his goals by banging home loose pucks or being in the right spot at the right time, either. Instead, Nelson, 24, has looked every bit the type of sniper the Islanders had hoped he would become when they drafted him in the first round, 30th overall, in 2010. His goals have come on pinpoint-accurate wrist shots that have made more than a few netminders snap their heads as they watch the puck fly by. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Struggling Predators looking for even more offensive help

Ryan Johansen (Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Over two weeks ago, the Nashville Predators surprised the hockey world by shipping promising young defenseman Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Ryan Johansen. While the 23-year-old Johansen had seven points in his first six games with the Preds, they’re still struggling to win games.

Since acquiring Johansen, the Predators enter their Jan. 21 tilt against the Winnipeg Jets with only one win in their last six games. They also fell out of a playoff berth, as offensive depth remains an issue.

Read more

Islanders’ Pelech has face sliced by skate blade, returns to score first NHL point

Jared Clinton
Adam Pelech gets Derek Stepan's skate in the face (via Sportsnet/YouTube)

The New York Islanders blueline has taken some serious blows over the past month. First, the Isles lost Johnny Boychuk following a scary crash into the boards and then Travis Hamonic went down. Both will be out through the all-star break.

With that in mind, you can imagine the reaction from Islanders fans Thursday evening when rookie defenseman Adam Pelech, who has been steady since Boychuk went down, took a skate to the face from Rangers center Derek Stepan. Pelech immediately grabs at his face and checks for blood: Read more

Islanders lose Travis Hamonic to lower-body injury for 2-3 weeks

Jared Clinton
Travis Hamonic (Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

There’s not a lot of breathing room in the Metropolitan Division and the third place New York Islanders are going to have to try to hold onto their spot in the standings without the services of arguably their top defenseman.

Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported Monday that Travis Hamonic will be out for the next two-to-three weeks with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Already without Johnny Boychuk, Staple said there’s a good possibility both he and Hamonic will be out through the all-star break. Read more

How Sweden’s Linus Soderstrom is living – and thriving – with Asperger Syndrome

Linus Soderstrom (photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

HELSINKI, FINLAND – Through five games at the world juniors, Sweden rolled. The Tre Kronor were scoring in bunches, but also getting incredible goaltending from starter Linus Soderstrom. The New York Islanders prospect surrendered just five goals in four appearances, including a 46-save shutout against the U.S. in a 1-0 game the Americans swear they should have won, had it not been for the kid in the other net. So perhaps that kid’s public announcement right before the tournament came at the best time possible.

Soderstrom, as it turns out, has Asperger Syndrome.

Read more