Highlights From The Press Conference:
-Charles Wang plans to honor the Nassau Coliseum lease through the 2014-15 season.
-The Islanders first season in Brooklyn at the brand new Barclays Center will be the 2015-16 season.
-Charles Wang will maintain 100% ownership.
-Gary Bettman stated that arena developer Bruce Ratner and Charles Wang have talked about adding seats to the hockey venue. He added, that this would increase seating from about 14,500 to about 15,015. The Winnipeg Jets, MTS Center currently have the lowest capacity at 15,004 so we'll see how many exact seats the Islanders will have in comparison.
-The New York Islanders name and logo will stay the same. Brooklyn is apart of New York, and technically apart of Long Island so it works out.
-Transportation won't be an issue as the Barclays center is across the street from 11 subway lines, the Long Island Rail Road and multiple buses.
-Mayor Bloomberg added that the Islanders and Rangers rivalry just got even bigger.
Why this is the best announcement in a long time for the Islanders franchise and their fan base:
Ever since Nassau county constantly made life hell for Charles Wang, he began already planning for a move by 2015. Every Islanders fan has suffered through this mess, because of the on-ice product. The Islanders have had a lottery draft pick in the last five seasons which is bizarre. Because of that, they have acquired fantastic talent and have found diamonds in the rough along the way. The Islanders have a tremendous core consisting of John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen, Josh Bailey, Matt Martin, Travis Hamonic, and Andy Macdonald. These guys are young, and ownership haven't provided the veteran leadership they need, although Mark Streit has been a great veteran, leader and Captain to the group. He most likely, will not be taking the ride to Brooklyn come 2015. Evgeni Nabokov gave Islanders fans playoff hope after the all-star break as the Islanders were in the playoff mix for quite some time, before fading away. The core hasn't been provided with proven stars from free agency or trade under the last handful of seasons under Charles Wang controlling General Manager Garth Snows' spending.
These failures though, have led to maybe the best prospect pool the NHL sees today. By 2015, the core listed above will be joined by players such as goalies Anders Nilsson, and Kevin Poulin. They will also add defensive help from some combination within the group of Griffin Reinhart, Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness, Scott Mayfield, and Ville Pokka. The centers that will be developed by 2015 include Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson. Ryan Strome has been compared to John Tavares, which will sure make a lethal 1-2 punch at center. On the wings, the Islanders have a tremendous russian duo of Kirill Kabanov, and Kirill Petrov. Lastly, they have the #5 pick from the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Nino Niederreiter.
These players will get a lot of playing time and develop a ton over the next few seasons. Islanders fans know more than anybody that this team will be a strong contender in a few seasons. The only thing stopping this impressive group from making a playoff run or even entrance is the fact Charles Wang won't spend the money on elite, proven players. Another reason, is that it would take a lot of money to get these elite players because of the arena situation that hasn't been solved for years.
Top-tier free agents now see the Islanders as a team that is locked into New York, and locked into a One-Billion dollar state of the art arena. Take the bet that the Islanders will add one or two tremendous free agent signings before opening night of 2015. Perhaps, even a trade for a proven star that would actually waive their no-trade-clause to join this group on their way to Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Nets are a contender going into their first season at the Barclays Center thanks to additions of Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams that were motivated by the arena change. The hype of their move is extraordinary, but expect the Islanders to surpass that when the time comes.
The New York Islanders will, for sure, ice an instant Stanley Cup contender by the time 2015-16 rolls around. A contender that will last for a long, long time.
The bright future shining from the bulbs of the Barclays Center is bright enough to address 3 years early.
For Islanders fans, this feeling should eclipse the time when Garth Snow called the name "John Tavares" back in 2009.