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Chicago Blachawks Eye On the Enemy: New York Islanders

By Sean Fitzgerald
Dec 13, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays the puck against Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays the puck against Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 13, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) catches a puck in mid air against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) catches a puck in mid air against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

This week’s Eye on the Enemy will be talking with the editor of the Eye on the Isles, Matt O’Leary

We asked Matt some questions on the Islanders’ season. We started off with the hard-hitting stuff:

The Islanders are struggling this year after making the playoffs last season. What is the biggest reason for the struggles?

Losing Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo really hurt the Islanders. It’s become clear that Garth Snow did not do enough to improve this team in the offseason. They don’t have nearly scoring depth. John Tavares is obviously the center of the offense and the inability to get him a quality linemate has been mind-boggling, to say the least.

Thoughts on the Cal Clutterbuck deal? (I think it is an awful deal.)

Islanders fans are really mixed on this one. Personally, I like Cal Clutterbuck a lot and I think you do need guys like him on your team. He’s a great penalty killer and has an underrated wrist shot.

On average it’s just a $750,000 raise per season, and I think he would’ve got more on the open market. To me, I think the Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski contracts will kill the Islanders more so. Ultimately I don’t think the contract is as bad as some are making it out to be.

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What are your thoughts on the Andrew Ladd signing and his tenure with the Islanders?

When the Islanders initially signed Andrew Ladd, I was OK with it. I thought he would put up comparable numbers to Kyle Okposo, and he brought playoff experience that the Islanders were lacking.

The thing was the Islanders had to do more. Garth Snow needed to acquire a scoring forward via trade to add to the mix, but Snow didn’t. To say Ladd hasn’t performed would be a huge understatement.

Any trade ideas for the Islanders?

The Islanders definitely have to make a trade in order to improve this team, and they have the depth to do it. They’ve got forward prospects like Mathew Barzal, Joshua Ho Sang and Michael Dal Colle that could be intriguing to teams. Plus due to their goalie situation Jaroslav Halak should be a movable asset. If it’s possible to target James Van Riemsdyk, Jeff Skinner or maybe even Max Pacioretty the Islanders should give whatever it takes to bring a scorer like that in.

Should Garth Snow and Jack Capuano make it through this season?

Garth Snow and Jack Capuano should not make it through the season. To be frank, they should have been let go long ago. There seems to be a strong disconnect between the two as Garth Snow keeps drafting smaller skilled players and Jack Capuano likes to stick to the old-school dump and chase hockey strategy.

Snow ultimately hasn’t done enough to improve off of last year, and Capuano continuously shuffling the lines helps absolutely nothing. The new ownership should pull the trigger and move on from these two.

Next: Darling Could Turns Heads In Vegas

Thank you for Matt O’Leary of Eye on the Isles. The Blackhawks take on the Islanders tonight at 6 p.m. in New York.

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