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Islanders could entrust Nelson with top-line role

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Heading into training camp last September, forward Brock Nelson was simply trying to earn a spot with the New York Islanders. Twelve months later, he'll have an opportunity to play a prominent role.

As a 22-year-old, Nelson played 72 games for the Islanders last season and got better as it progressed. After fighting to crack the lineup early in the season, the rookie ended up with 14 goals and 12 assists, and showed the ability to be a responsible player in both ends of the ice.

"It was maybe tough here and there, but I think I had a good support system around me," Nelson said. "Everyone just kept telling me to work hard and just keep doing the right things and you'll get your time and you'll get your opportunity. You've just got to be ready for when that moment came and I think I was able to do that, and I think the coaching staff did a great job of keeping me prepared for when that time came."

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Islanders' five questions include Reinhart's readiness

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The New York Islanders failed to build off their appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2013 and finished in the bottom five of the NHL standings last season. General manager Garth Snow has spent this offseason working diligently to add depth and fill the holes that were visible in 2013-14, particularly in goal.

With the additions of goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson and forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, the Islanders are deeper -- at least on paper -- than they have been in years. Now it's up to them to find a way back to the playoffs.

This season will be the Islanders' last at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before they move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the start of the 2015-16 season. Coach Jack Capuano, who returns for a fourth full season in New York, would obviously like to make the Islanders' final season in Nassau County a memorable one.

Here are five questions facing the Islanders:

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Veteran additions strengthen Islanders lineup

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

This has been the best offseason for the New York Islanders since they chose John Tavares with the top pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.

The Islanders filled major needs, improved their NHL-quality depth and still possess an assortment of prospects that could help fetch the last piece or two needed to be a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.

Goaltending has been an issue for years. If newcomers Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson provide nothing more than League-average work it would be an enormous upgrade. Frans Nielsen has been solid behind Tavares in the middle, but adding Mikhail Grabovski (and his pal Nikolai Kulemin) should make this the deepest group of forwards Tavares has been given the chance to play with.

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Islanders stock up for last season at Nassau Coliseum

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

The New York Islanders will be the first to tell you their 2013-14 season was a massive disappointment.

After giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a scare in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Islanders were expected to build off their first postseason appearance in six years. They didn't come close to meeting those expectations.

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Islanders' top 10 prospects led by Reinhart, defense

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The New York Islanders have quietly assembled one of the finer pipeline pools of defensive prospects in the NHL, and there's a good chance one of them will help fortify the back end this season.

Griffin Reinhart, a 2012 first-round selection (No. 4), provides the organization with a 6-foot-4, 205-pound shutdown defenseman mature beyond his years. But Reinhart is one of several top defenders in the system, leaving general manager Garth Snow and his staff with some tough decisions to make in September.

The Islanders already have Calvin de Haan, 23; Travis Hamonic, 23; Thomas Hickey, 25; Kevin Czuczman, 23; and TJ Brennan, 25; also in the hunt for positions along the blue line this season. Lubomir Visnovsky is expected to serve as the veteran presence on defense.

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Lehner, Senators agree to terms on three-year contract

Thursday, 07.31.2014 / 10:09 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Goaltender Robin Lehner and the Ottawa Senators have agreed to terms on a three-year contract with an average annual value of $2.225 million, the team announced Thursday.

Lehner, 23, went 12-15-6 with a 3.06 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in 36 games (30 starts) last season. He will be paid $1.5 million this season, $2.025 million next season and $3.15 million in 2016-17.

"We quite honestly spent a long time this summer trying to get a long-term deal done," Lehner told the Senators website. "It turned into a three-year deal which I'm very happy with too.

"I think it's just, from both sides, they wanted me in Ottawa and I've tried to make my point that Ottawa is the place I want to be but, of course, I've got to deserve to be there a long time and that's what my goal is. You never know what the future holds."

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Quote of the Day

I've been so fortunate, blessed, to play a long time with some great players and be on power plays, play in some great cities and stuff. It's been fun.

— Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla on tying Dino Ciccarelli for 46th place on the NHL's all-time list with his 1,200th career point after their win vs. the Predators on Friday