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Capuano cautious about reuniting Kulemin/Grabovski

Jul 21, 2014, 10:45 PM EDT

Jack Capuano Getty Images

New York Islanders fans who are big into fancy stats may want to prepare themselves.

In Elliotte Friedman’s final 30 Thoughts column of the summer, he spoke with Isles coach Jack Capuano about the possibility of reuniting former Toronto Maple Leafs teammates Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin on the same line.

As for Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, Capuano did not promise that they would be united, “But, we do know what the advanced stats say about them together.” (Hint: they are good.)

Their familiarity in Toronto made them two of the Leafs’ more productive forwards under Ron Wilson in 2010-11. That season, Kulemin scored 30 goals and Grabovski potted 29 and the pair combined for 117 points. If the Isles can unleash that sort of offensive production from their second line, they’ll be a very difficult team to deal with in the Eastern Conference.

With John Tavares returning from injury, New York’s offense would be worth the price of admission. Of course, it’s up to Capuano to see if the former Leafs teammates can find that old chemistry again.

  1. 19inarow - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Whatever works.

    The 7 worst teams, in terms of points, since the lockout have been:


    The 7 worst teams over the last 5 seasons have been:


    Edmonton, NYI, and Florida ought to be powerhouses in a few years. They each already have an enormous amount of talent coming through the pipeline and in the pros. The question remains if any of these organizations can properly develop these guys, especially since they’ve been so bad for so long.

    I would love to see another elite hockey, Stanley Cup rivalry between the Islanders and Oilers.

    I am really looking forward to next season.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:31 AM

      Why will they be powerhouses? Their draft strategies have been complete failures.

    • i1theinternet - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      Which lockout? You know there have been THREE of them, right? (All on Gary Bettman’s watch.)

      • sjsblitz - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        And look how the leagues doing now =P

  2. mattymarts17 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Why would he do what works?

    • hockeyflow33 - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:32 AM

      He’s saying he wants to see what his team looks like on the ice before making line decisions, not sure why that’s difficult to comprehend.

  3. rbbbaron - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:13 AM

    Goals and points aren’t exactly “advanced” stats. I don’t think referencing possession stats or on-ice sh%, etc. will turn readers off either.

  4. JoeAvg - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Agree with rbbbaron, some numbers would have served this article better than “Hint: they are good”. C’mon Joe, this is the off-season. Give us something to occupy our brain and ease the pain.

  5. source7769 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    lol draft strategies have be bad? they are stocked with prospects what do you think will happen when you play a ton of prospects all at once, mistakes will happen , the trades have been rough but thats what happens when you have an owner that wont spend you have to trade to fill needs

  6. djshnooks - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Yeah Edmonton and those teams have gotten some good first round picks…but they have nothing to compliment those players from rounds 2-7.

    That’s why the Sabres were so set on drafting well in rounds 2-7, as Murray said, “that’s where you get in the playoffs and win cups,” when 7th rounders step up.

    Buffalo has gotten some talent in the 1st round, but it will be guys like Compher, Lemieux, Baptiste, etc, players drafted in rounds 2-7 that’ll round out the team down the line and make them a better team.

  7. peter845 - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    I wouldn’t depend on the 1st rounders. There’s so many other “rounders” better than the 1st rounders. And I agree that is tough to sign with a team, that doesn’t want to spend! But, I think too, that islanders will be a play off team!!! Halak, Tavares, Visnovsky, Grabovsky, Kulemin will be the key players… If they fail, islanders will fail again.. I just hope they will do better than mets! Lmao

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