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Number 15 seems to be pretty cut and dry to me, but 14 through 8 seems to be a lot tougher. My pick to finish 14th in the Eastern Conference in 2010-2011 are the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders tried hard in the off-season to make a push for Ilya Kovalchuk, but were unsuccessful in their pursuit. Outside of their push for Kovalchuk the Islanders did very little. The Islanders re-signed Matt Moulson and Rob Schremp while parting ways with defenseman Brendan Witt. They also re-signed their captain, former Hurricane, Doug Weight to another one year contract to provide leadership to the Islanders young core. Their we’re a few key additions for the Isles via free agency, draft, and trade. With the Islanders finishing in the bottom third of the league they once again received a top draft pick and decided on Nino Niederreiter, who totalled 60 points for Portland in the Western Hockey league last season. On defense they signed Mark Eaton and traded for James Wisniewski to help solidify the defense in front of Rolston and DiPietro. The one part that seems to be solid is goal-tending, with the departure of Biron to the rival Rangers the pressure to stay healthy falls directly on the shoulders of DiPietro if the Islanders have any shot at making a run for the playoffs.
Overall the team’s biggest improvement is on the back end which will help out their solid goaltending. The problem is the lack of offensive output they are likely to get. John Tavaras had a good rookie season, but will he go through a sophmore slump this season. Also Matt Moulson came out of nowhere to have a career year, but once again can that continue in 2010-2011. In my opinion it comes down to the lack of offense that will see the Islanders finish 14th in 2010-2011.