NEW YORK ISLANDERS
The New York Islanders finished 26th in the NHL, with a record of 37-37-11 for 79 points. They ended up 8th the Metropolitan Division and 14th in the 16 team Eastern Conference.
After making the playoffs for the first time in six seasons in the lockout shortened 2013 season, there were high expectations of a return to that level, and maybe a step forward and possibly winning their first playoff series since 1993.
- Kyle Okposo counted nearly a point per game over a full season in his best year, posting career highs in goals, assists and points while finally getting a chance to play with John Tavares on a regular basis
- Tavares was among the league leaders in points heading into the Olympic break
- Losing Tavares for the season due to an injury he suffered at the Sochi Winter Olympics derailed the season.
- A brutal swoon beginning in mid-November derailed any chances of making the playoffs
- Trading for Matt Moulson and a first & second round draft pick for Thomas Vanek and then swapped Vanek for a prospect and 2nd round pick.
- The free-fall mentioned above coincided with the trade mentioned above as Moulson’s contributions were dearly missed.
PROGNOSIS FOR NEXT SEASON
A return to full strength for Tavares and the acquisition of Jaroslav Halak (assuming they can get him under contract) after the season will be a couple of huge steps, to a recovery. However, there is now no Vanek and no Moulson inthe top six forward unit. The Islanders desperately need an improved contribution from youngsters Ryan Strome and Casey Cizikas There are still questions on the blue line as well as depth forwards, and the Eastern Conference isn’t going to get much easier. Getting back to the playoffs will be a challenge, and any more trade debacles like the Moulson-Vanek situation will bring Garth Snow‘s job into question.
It will also be the last season for the franchise on Long Island before the team moves to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season
5 QUESTIONS WITH EYES ON ISLES
We asked Noah Reiss, staff writer for eyesonisles.com a few questions about the New York Islanders’ season and future. Here are his responses:
1) What was the biggest surprise for your team?
The biggest surprise this year has to be Kyle Okposo. Many Islander fans gave up on Okposo following a disappointing 2012-2013 campaign, in which he only had 4 goals in 48 games. The 26-year old forward drastically improved his game this year playing alongside John Tavares. Okposo had 69 points in 71 games, which easily eclipsed his career high of 52. Hopefully the Islanders can get another solid year out of the American winger.
5) What #hashtag would you use to describe your team’s season or state of the team?
The #hashtag that describes the New York Islanders season would be #letdown. Coming off a playoff berth for the first time in seven years, the Islanders finished 26th in the league in points this season. This was a huge letdown for a fan base that had high expectations coming into the season. Hopefully with the addition of Jaroslav Halak and possibly a veteran defenseman, the Islanders can get back to the playoffs next season.
Thanks to Noah for taking the time to answer our questions. How Tavares recovers and if he can recover the chemistry with Okposo will go a long way to determining the team’s success.