With the Tavares line primed for another powerhouse season, the Isles' main concern on offense is depth and secondary scoring. The club's best goal- scoring threat not named Moulson or Tavares is Michael Grabner, who finished second on the team with 16 goals last season, although the Austrian left winger ended with a total of 21 points.
Josh Bailey, who can play center or wing, added 11 goals and eight assists last season, while Frans Nielsen, the club's projected second-line centerman, recorded 29 points on six goals and 23 helpers.
The fact that too much of New York's scoring comes from its top line is a problem, as it allows teams to focus on shutting down one unit. Then again, that leaves opportunities for guys not named Tavares or Moulson to step up and the Isles hope one of their younger players can make that leap in 2013-14.
DEFENSE - The Islanders biggest loss this summer came when it was forced to part ways with top defenseman Mark Streit.
Streit was set to enter free agency this past summer when the Isles cut their losses and traded his rights to Philadelphia for a prospect and a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft. The Flyers then signed Streit to a four-year, $21 million, ending the 35-year-old blueliner's successful five-year run on Long Island.
Streit led New York's blue line with 27 points last season, leaving Lubomir Visnovsky as the club's top remaining offensive defenseman. Visnovsky, who had three goals and 11 assists in 35 games for the Isles last season, had a monster season with Anaheim in 2010-11, when he recorded 68 points on 18 goals and 50 assists. However, the Czech native has managed to record only nine goals and 41 points in 103 regular-season games since that career season.
Visnovsky will log major minutes at the back end this season, as will the solid Travis Hamonic, who signed a seven-year, $27 million contract this summer after recording 10 points (3G, 7A) in 48 games in 2013. Having recently turned 23 years of age, Hamonic will be expected to take a big step forward in his fourth season as an NHLer.
Andrew MacDonald will also feature heavily in New York's defensive plans this season after leading the Islanders blue line in ice time last year. He finished the 2013 campaign with three goals and nine assists in 48 games.
Brian Strait is also expected to skate in one of the top-two pairings, while Thomas Hickey and Matt Carkner provide depth at the bottom of the rotation.
GOALTENDING - To the surprise of very few people, the Islanders used a compliance buyout this offseason to wipe out Rick DiPietro's salary-cap hit.
DiPietro was a former No. 1 overall pick and signed an infamous 15-year, $67.5 million contract with New York prior to the 2006-07 season. Of course, it was all downhill after that as injuries and poor play derailed DiPietro's career and the Isles were left with an albatross of a contract around their necks.
With the DiPietro fiasco in the past, the Isles head into 2013-14 with steady veteran Evgeni Nabokov installed as the club's No. 1 netminder. Nabokov, 38, had a terrific season with New York in 2013, going 23-11-7 with a 2.50 goals against average, .910 save percentage and three shutouts.
Nabokov did have a rough time in the playoffs, but it's hard to blame him entirely for that since the Isles were simply overmatched by the high-powered Penguins. When the smoke cleared, Nabokov had given up 24 goals over the six- game series, leaving him with a 4.44 GAA and .842 save percentage in the 2013 postseason.
Kevin Poulin has the inside track on the backup job after going 1-3-0 with a 3.02 GAA in limited duty last season. Anders Nilsson, a third-round pick (62nd overall) by New York in 2009 also has a chance to work his way into the rotation after spending the last two seasons playing in Bridgeport.
WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE - The Islanders have depth issues on both ends of the ice, but Tavares' ability to carry the team on his back could get this flawed club back into the playoffs. Injuries could easily derail a team with such a shallow pool of talent, but that's hardly news to head coach Jack Capuano, who has been forced to get by with little depth before. Perhaps, the Isles can afford to spend more money in a few years when the move to Brooklyn materializes, but for now, the club will have to rely on Tavares to do the heavy lifting.