The New York Islanders had a devastating off-season, their franchise player John Tavares walked away for nothing. This was definitely a huge blow to the franchise that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup in over 30 years.
But the off-season wasn't all bad, considering that they were able to bring in Lou Lamoriello as the team’s new President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. Meanwhile, Stanley Cup-winning coach Barry Trotz was hired as the new bench boss on Long Island.
The Islanders also lucked out at the draft as two high-end prospects in Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson fell to them at number 11 and 12 overall.
As we head into 2018/19, there will be several new faces on the team including Leo Komarov, Robin Lehner, Valtteri Filppula and Jan Kovar.
Time will tell whether this team will be better or worse without John Tavares.
Anthony Beauvillier - Mathew Barzal - Jordan Eberle
Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Josh Bailey
Andrew Ladd - Valtteri Filppula - Leo Komarov
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Jan Kovar, Ross Johnston
Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey - Ryan Pulock
Adam Pelech - Scott Mayfield
Best case scenario
- Matthew Barzal takes his game to another level and breaks the 90- point plateau.
- The team collectively chips in on offense to make up for John Tavares’ departure.
- The team-defense improves, and the Islanders are not a bottom-ten team in goals against.
- A high-end prospect like Josh Ho-Sang, Noah Dobson or Michael Dal Colle is able to come in and make a major impact on the team.
- Thomas Greiss or Robin Lehner is able to solidify themselves as a number-one goalie in the NHL.
Worst case scenario
- Matt Barzal hits a sophomore slump and scores less than 60 points.
- Their team defense has another off-year and the Islanders are once again the most scored on team in the NHL.
- Their free-agent signings (Leo Komarov, Robin Lehner, Valtteri Filppula, and Jan Kovar) do very little to help the team.
- Neither Lehner or Greiss is able to give the team any stability in net.
The Islanders were the second worst team in the Metropolitan Division last season and missed the playoffs by 17 points.
With John Tavares out of the picture, it’s difficult to imagine that their chances of making the playoffs will be any better. Tavares is a top-five center in the NHL, and losing his offensive output will be almost impossible to replace.
There are still huge question marks in net as well. It remains to be seen whether Robin Lehner or Thomas Greiss can give them a legit number- one goalie.
The combination of these things puts the Islanders in a tough spot heading into 2018/19! At this point, it looks like they will be battling the New York Rangers to stay out of the bottom of their division.
How do you think the New York Islanders will do in 2018/19? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to give us a follow on Twitter by searching (@VAVELNHL_ENG).