The New York Islanders have ended their 2014 season by finishing 26th in the league, good enough for the fifth overall pick in this year's draft lottery and a 34-37-11 record.
At this time last year, the Isles were 24-17-7, a record that was good enough to place them eighth in the Eastern Conference and allow them to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a first round playoff series match-up.
Clearly, this was not the direction that the Islanders and their fan-base expected them to travel this year.
The Islanders head into Montreal to continue to play out the string of this disappointing season as the Canadiens have everything in the world to play for. Translation, the guys in white could be in for an ugly night.
A lot of fans might see this game as one of “The Greatest Tank Battles,” but the Islanders are not just playing out the string. They have points in their last four games, going 3-0-1 in that stretch. The one game the Isles didn’t win was a 13 round shootout loss to the probably playoff bound Tampa Bay Lightning.
Having already used one of their two compliance buyouts from the new CBA, the Islanders have some decisions to make before the start of next season. Improvements need to be made and impact players need to be brought in if there is any hope of contending next season. Due to their already small budget, a compliance buyout may have to be used to make sure that they have money available to acquire the right players.
After a week in western Canada and 3 days off, the Islanders returned home on Friday night to begin a 4 game home stand welcoming the San Jose Sharks to Nassau Coliseum. They defeated the Sharks in December in San Jose but couldn’t complete the season series sweep on home ice.
Plagued by injuries, and shorthanded by recent trades, the Isles will field a lineup consisting of many who started the season in Connecticut. This is even truer in light of Michael Grabner’s concussion. There is no time table for Grabner’s return, and in truth, it’s not likely he will play again this season. Therefore on Thursday, the Islanders recalled Johan Sundstrom from Bridgeport.