Last years’ record: 41-29-12, finished 9th in the Eastern Conference
Key additions: Jordan Eberle
Key losses: Ryan Strome
Outlook: After just missing the playoffs last season, the New York Islanders will need a big showing this season if they hope to convince John Tavares to stick around. Tavares, a free agent after this season, has yet to sign an extension and it has been the talk of the town. He reportedly wants to see how things end up with the team, as well as how this whole arena debacle turns out.
Outside of the whole Tavares situation the Islander’s are hoping their rookies finally blossom this season, looking at you Michael DalColle. The former fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft has yet to live up to the hype. Let’s take a look at who was selected after DalColle thanks to our friends at mynhldraft.com. The list includes: William Nylander, Nick Ritchie, Nikolaj Ehlers, Dylan Larkin, okay I’ll stop.
The Islanders will be relying on multiple youngins to contribute this season, DalColle included. Along with DalColle, the Islanders will look to: Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Ryan Pulock, and Josh Ho-Sang. All five of the aforementioned should play at least a mildly important role this season, some more than others.
The Islanders have a deep forward group and a relatively deep defense as well. The question looms in-goal. The Islanders are likely to use a platoon system this year and split starts between Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss. Halak stopped all twenty-two shots he faced last night in a 1-0 preseason loss to the Rangers. Halak struggled last season, paving the way for Greiss to receive a contract extension and an opportunity to be a number one goalie.
The Islanders have enough talent to make it to the playoffs. Whether they can come out of a loaded Metropolitan Division, let alone a stacked Eastern Conference, is the real question. The Islanders are going to need to show John Tavares that they can be a perennial threat in the east if they hope he’ll stick around.