Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Friday, hockey writer Katie Strang stops by to chat about the New York area teams on ice.
After spending the past two seasons as the Islanders beat writer for Newsday, Strang joins ESPNNewYork.com to cover the Rangers, Isles and Devils. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Send your questions now and join Strang Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (12:59 PM)
Hey everyone! Thanks for joining me in the first of what will hopefully be many live chats this season. Go ahead and fire away with those questions!
Jon (Long Island)
How do you think the Isles goalie situation will work out this season?
Katie Strang (1:01 PM)
Hi Jon-Great question and this will be a very intriguing storyline to follow with the Islanders all season I suspect. Expect the team to carry three goalies--DiPietro, Montoya and Nabokov--while sending Kevin Poulin to begin the season in the AHL for some seasoning. As we know, the biggest question mark with DiPietro is his health. With Montoya, it's whether he can handle the load and maintain some consistency for an entire NHL season. And, Nabokov? To me that's the true wild card. I wouldn't be shocked to see him play a good chunk of games. At the very least, the Islanders need to showcase him if they want to deal him.
Steve (Long Island, NY)
Congrats on the new poisition Katie, Isles question for you, El Nino has been practicing with JT and Moulson throughout training camp, is the plan to have him play 1st line to start off? If so, what's your full season stat projections for him?
Katie Strang (1:02 PM)
I believe that the Islanders envision Nino Niederreiter as their first-line right wing of the future, but it's still premature to say whether he can fulfill that role this season. I think he'll make the team, but he needs to have a strong camp
A.J. (Elmwood Park, NJ)
Hello Katie, thanks for the chat. How many points do you figure the Rangers will have this year and where will they finish in the conference?
Katie Strang (1:04 PM)
Hi AJ-I'm not going to get as specific as to project point totals-that's only setting myself up for failure ;)--but I think the Rangers will finish 5th in the Eastern Conference. I expect them to have a really good season
If it came down to hagelin or Zuk who makes it? there is a 1m dif in cap hit between them.
Katie Strang (1:04 PM)
As of right now, Zuccarello definitely the front-runner. Having a very good camp so far.
Danny (Staten Island, NY)
Hey Katie,Us Isles fans have been told of a big name dman this past off season. That never happened obviously, but with Drew Doughty holding out in LA, whats the chances Snow drops an offer sheet on the table?
Katie Strang (1:06 PM)
No chance. There is a reason offer sheets are so rare. You do so at the risk of drawing the ire of the opposing GM and others around the league. You'd also only extend an offer sheet if you thought you had a legitimate shot at landing the player. Kings would never let Doughty go
Matt (New Jersey)
As a Devils fan I am conserned. We played most of our regulars against a mostly AHL Rangers team and had to go to overtime? This can't be good can it or are the Rangers prospects just really that good?
Katie Strang (1:08 PM)
Matt-Don't fret. Let's be honest about preseason games: they really don't mean that much. Rarely is a team's preseason record an accurate gauge on how they'll fare in the regular season. Case in point: The Boston Bruins won only 3 exhibition games last year and went on to win the Stanley Cup
Ted (Long Island)
Chances we see the Isles move to Brooklyn?
Katie Strang (1:10 PM)
At this point, much better than Queens, which is what I always thought previously was the most viable option. Capacity is obviously an issue--I believe the Barclays Center is slated to hold about 14,500--but the fact that BC officials have met with the league is a good sign that the interest is there. In fact, Ratner has said as much in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV
No love for the Sabres? We had a great offseason and the only team I really worry about in the East are the Rangers. Philly downgraded, Boston got lucky, Pens have injury woes. Thoughts on us getting to the Finals?
Katie Strang (1:13 PM)
Greg-Glad to see you representing the Sabres contingent...flattered that you stopped by for the chat! Great off-season for Buffalo so your confidence is understandable. Totally agree with you on Philly...in fact, I think there is an outside chance they miss the playoffs entirely. Feel that Washington is the team to beat in the East. If Pens are healthy they are dangerous. heck, even when they're not healthy, they're still pretty potent. And the Rangers will challenge, no doubt.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is with the NHL Players Passing Away over the Summer there was at least 7-9 players including Current Players who Passed Away I think this is Ridiculous?
Katie Strang (1:14 PM)
Absolutely heartbreaking summer for the NHL, Chris. Certainly an eye-opener for everyone in the NHL community and I truly hope the league does its best to examine what type of help they are providing players (current and retired) and how it can be improved
Any chance Avery and Christensen don't make the Rangers team and we get to see Zuccarello and Weise full-time?
Katie Strang (1:17 PM)
Both Avery and Christensen will make the first cut (scheduled for tonight) but both are definitely in a battle for a spot on the opening night roster. Bringing in Brad Richards provides the Rangers with some depth down the middle and that leaves Christensen on the outside looking in. Also didn't help his chances with an underwhelming game Wednesday. Avery also on the bubble. Zuke making a good case for himself at camp so far, and I've like what I've seen from Weise. Physical, hard-working forward with some offensive capabilities
Justin (New Paltz)
Who will accompany Gaborik and Richards on the first line?
Katie Strang (1:18 PM)
Wojtek Wolski will get the first crack, without question, but he'll have to prove to Tortorella he can perform consistently to stay there.
It has been leaked twice that the Islanders were close to trading for a defensemen but it never happened. Is snow done making moves or is there a d-man out there via trade we can get?
Katie Strang (1:20 PM)
Robbie-Barring injury, the Islanders are pretty set on D. I think Snow would like a little more size and experience--hence the Paul Mara training camp invite--but he's going to have to be willing to offer a contract to entice a player. Neither Bryan McCabe or Mara are willing to come without a deal in place
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear KatieAre the Rangers going to honor Derek Boddgard?
Katie Strang (1:20 PM)
Yes, with a helmet sticker they will wear throughout the season
If you had to pick a #1 goalie from the 6 the isles have in camp who would you go with?
Katie Strang (1:25 PM)
Still think DiPietro will be given the first crack at the No. 1 job, so if he's healthy I believe he will be in net opening night against the Panthers. Honestly, though, I can see any of four candidates filling the post--DiPietro, Montoya, Nabokov or Poulin. I think 21-year-old Kevin Poulin is really talented, and likely the team's goaltender of the future, but I think they want him to get some more experience in the AHL this season. And let's not forget that while the Islanders will likely carry three goaltenders, so will Bridgeport. In addition to Kevin Poulin, they also have prospects Mikko Koskinen and Anders Nilsson.
Any word if NJ will look to acquire anyone to fill in for Zajac while he's out? or are we looking at youngsters at this point?
Katie Strang (1:27 PM)
Think Pete DeBoer is looking to see this role fulfilled internally. Prime opportunity for Jacob Josefson to step up and show his potential. Also think Patrik Elias and possibly Dainius Zubrus will slide to the middle
Benjamin (New York, New York)
who will have a better bounce back year? Del Zotto or Gaborik
Katie Strang (1:29 PM)
Gaborik, although when you ask Tortorella he feels strongly about bounce-back seasons for both. Having a dynamic, play-making center in Brad Richards should have a tremendous spillover effect on Gaborik. Tortorella said he expects the sniper to flourish this season now that the responsibility to handle the puck isn't nearly as much. Should be exciting to see tonight if they've developed any sort of chemistry yet.
With questions on D and in net, will the Islanders contend or make the playoffs? Or are we looking at a top 5 pick again
Katie Strang (1:31 PM)
I think the Islanders will either sneak into the playoffs with the 8th spot or, at the very least, contend the entire year. Don't see another top 5 pick. If they stay healthy and receive good goaltending--two big if's, mind you--they are gonna be a sleeper team.
Do you feel Larrson will make the Top-6 D for the Devils? And do you envision them back in the playoffs in the spring?
Katie Strang (1:33 PM)
Hey Rob-I thought he looked pretty good--calm, composed--Wednesday night in the Devils 2-1 OT win over the Rangers. He's only 18 but it doesn't hurt that he's been playing with men the past two seasons in the Swedish Elite League. Certainly has a chance
Sebastian (New York)
What line do you see stepan playing on and how many points is he capable of getting?
Katie Strang (1:35 PM)
Well, Sebastian, those answers are pretty much inextricably linked. What line Stepan plays on and what type of ice time he's afforded will have a direct relationship with his offensive production. I should point out that the NY Post's Larry Brooks wrote a good article today examining this very issue--how does Richards' arrival impact the roles of center Brian Boyle and Derek Stepan? It's a great read
Katie Strang (1:36 PM)
OK, all. We're going to wrap things up. Headed off to the Prudential Center for tonight's game. Looking forward to hearing from you in the chats to come this season!