As part of our Countdown to Puck Drop series during the month of September, today we take a long look at the New York Islanders.
After missing the playoffs last season by a single point in the stacked Metropolitan Division, the Islanders needed to be extremely careful with their offseason moves.
The team wasn’t bad last season, and especially down the stretch, looked like a team that deserved to be playing more than 82 games. Unfortunately, 94 points and a 41-29-12 record wasn’t enough, but just barely.
General Manager Garth Snow and his newish head coach Doug Weight have a lot of great talent to work with in New York, and Snow was careful to try and improve the team for this season without giving away much of their future prospects.
Gone are Travis Hamonic, Ryan Strome, Mikhail Grabovski, Jean-Francois Berube, Carter Verhaeghe, and in comes Jordan Eberle and Kristers Gudlevskis.
Young players like Anthony Beauvillier, Mathew Barzal, and Joshua Ho-Sang are in place to potentially have a major impact on the Isles’ fortunes.
But big questions still loom. The biggest of which is Captain John Tavares’ future contract, he remains without an extension even with the threat of UFA status next season.
The other issue lies between the pipes, where the goalie carousels featuring Halak and Greiss, and Gudlevskis, looks like it will continue to spin.
What does all this mean for the Islanders? Will missing the playoffs last season be only a temporary lapse? Did Snow do enough to keep them competitive in one of the NHL’s strongest divisions?
For a full account of all of the Islanders’ offseason moves and how the 2017-18 season is shaping for them, follow Hockey Feed on Facebook all day today. And if you’re looking for all the latest news, rumors and analysis on the team throughout the season, be sure to check out Islanders Feed.