At most, the 2013 NHL season has two games remaining. The Chicago Blackhawks have the opportunity to send the Boston Bruins home without any new hardware, as a win tonight would make them this year's Stanley Cup Champions.
With that being said, the New York Islanders organization has been preparing for the NHL Entry draft, as well as free agency.
As we jump ahead to July 5th, there are a handful of players that the Islanders might consider for the 2013-2014 roster that may make them a better contending team for next season's playoff run.
Since dealing two of the franchise's most prominent stars of the 2000's, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, it seems the Philadelphia fan base has surgically dissected every single move made by the Flyers front office.
The two most scrutinized moves in the past two years though are the dealings of young stars James van Riemsdyk and Sergei Bobrovsky. To be fair, the former was an even trade that benefited both the Flyers, who got Luke Schenn, and the Maple Leafs, who landed the scorer in van Riemsdyk.
As for the latter, Bobrovsky was traded this past offseason to the Columbus Blue Jackets where he won the starting job over now-current Flyers back-up goaltender Steve Mason. After turning the Blue Jackets around and nearly making the post season, Bobrovsky is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league's best goaltender.
(Pictured: Serge Bobrovsky against the Stars on April 25, 2013. Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
There is a saying, most often associated with old time hockey, that says, "how can you beat em on the ice if you can't beat em in the alley?" Well, the New York Islanders certainly must have felt that way tonight as they skated to a 5-3 regulation victory over the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.
When the horn sounded at the end of the third period at the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night, Islanders fans rejoiced as their home squad defeated the visiting Florida Panthers 5-2. The Isles skaters removed their jerseys and signed them for the lucky fans who won them as a prize at the end of the game.
Typically, this is a moment at the end of the Islanders season filled with "better luck next year's" and "thanks for supporting us as we rebuild our team." But instead, this time, fans were salivating for more as the Islanders continued to tighten their grasp on their first playoff berth in six years.
"Everyone's been telling me how loud this arena can be," said Matt Martin...
For those that grew up during the great cup runs in the 80's and the "epic" playoff battles that took place in the 90's, fans already know how loud the Nassau Coliseum can get.
But for fans like myself, who were either not born or old enough to appreciate what was taking place on the ice in Long Island at that time, there is only the first round elimination series against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2002 that truly proves merit to the Coliseum's nickname, the "Madhouse off the Meadowbrook."
All 30 teams in the NHL know the type of talent Sean Couturier possesses.
Only one, the Philadelphia Flyers, have the fortune of saying that they are possession of his talent.
On the April 3 trade deadline, a handful of teams asked the Flyers about the 20-year-old Couturier. San Jose wanted him in exchange for Ryan Clowe and Ottawa wanted him for Ben Bishop.
The Flyers didn’t bite though, opting to hold onto Couturier rather than deal him for a potential rental forward with no goals or an unproven starting goaltender. They did, however, exercise the notion of trading him for a top, young defenseman or top line scorer.
Couturier was glad this deadline ended, especially for him trying to focus on his play rather than if he's going to get moved.
(Pictured: Sean Couturier celebrates with Jay Rosehill and Erik Gustafsson after setting up Rosehill's goal in the third. John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY)
Playing the latter of a grueling back-to-back, the Flyers overcame a late surge by a good Toronto Maple Leafs team, holding on to win 5-3 Thursday night. It was their fourth straight win and earned them two huge points in the standings.
Sean Couturier had a fantastic game. He was all over the ice, notching a pair of assists and seemingly looked like he was always out there despite playing just over 13 minutes.
(Pictured: Kimmo Timonen and Sean Couturier take out Mikhail Grabovski in the 2nd period. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)