With the start of the regular season today, we continue our look at every team in the NHL. Today, we look at the New York Islanders.
Last Season: 45-27-10 (100 points), Finished 4th in the Metropolitan Division. Defeated Florida 4-2 in first round; Lost to Tampa Bay 4-1 in the second round.
Remaining Cap Space: $1.39MM per CapFriendly
Players To Watch: Mathew Barzal. There are a number of players to watch, but Barzal is exciting to watch and the 16th overall pick from 2015 will be counted on to help replace the quality of players lost to free agency. Barzal had 88 points (27-61) with Seattle in the WHL last season and added 26 points (5-21) in just 18 playoff games. He’s only 19, but Barzal has a chance to make an early mark on the Islanders’ season.
Key Storyline: Can the Isles make up all that they lost in the offseason? Losing Okposo, and Nielsen will test the Isles, who though driven by captain John Tavares, will certainly miss the production from both players and especially the two-way play from Nielsen, who will fill the same role in Detroit. The Islanders broke through the first round by stunning Florida, but were dispatched quickly by Tampa Bay. Ladd will certainly help, but his numbers fell a bit last season. Chimera will also chip in and Seidenberg will help shore up an already strong defensive corps. Another question mark is in net: what will they get out of Jaroslav Halak? Thomas Greiss was terrific last season, and it’s almost a 1A-1B argument with the netminders. Regardless, a step back wouldn’t be shocking as the Islanders lost a lot in the offseason but another playoff appearance shouldn’t be discounted with a team that has a lot of positives.