Today is Canada Day, which marks the opening day of free agency in the National Hockey League – a day that captures the attention of every hockey fan that hopes their team will improve their roster the easiest way possible.
However, this year comes with a twist for Islanders country. In previous years, fans were desperately hoping that Garth Snow would be signing a slew of top players. This year, the Islanders have a team comprised of both veterans and young players that is on the rise looking to fill a few holes. With that being said, they are some important holes that must be filled with the right players.
The top line will still continue to boast John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, the latter being the recent subject of trade rumors. Since Okposo was not moved at the draft, it looks as if he will be staying in an orange and blue sweater for at least one more season.
The New York Islanders finished last place in their division six out of the last eight seasons. However, the Isles finished this season with 101 points, third place in the Metropolitan Division, a Hart trophy finalist named John Tavares, and a physically brutal first round playoff exit that lasted seven games against the Washington Capitals.
Despite this drastic change, GM Garth Snow is not a finalist for this year’s General Manager of the Year award.
With less than three weeks left in the regular season, the Islanders have positioned themselves nicely for a top-three finish in the Metropolitan Division. Their 92 points (44-25-4) is currently good for second, two point ahead of Pittsburgh and four points clear of Washington and a wild card spot. Yes, it will be disappointing not to win the division after being atop it for so long, but the goal right now should be a top three-finish, and just as important, home-ice in the first round of the playoffs.
If someone went up to an Islander fan in September and asked them if they would be happy if by St. Patrick's Day, the team would be sitting at second plance in the Metropolitan Division with 90 points and comfortably in a playoff position, what percentage would have said "yes?" 90 percent? 95? Heck, would it even get as high as 99.9999 percent (yes, there's always one)? If wins lead to success and success leads to happiness, then surely we should be grinning ear to ear, unable to hide our joy of the 2014/15 season, right?
The New York Islanders have helped solidify their blue line for the next seven years by inking top-pairing defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a new contract that will see him in an Isles uniform through the 2021-2022 season.
...it doesn't appear that he will be going back to Boston after all.
The contract will pay Boychuk a total of $42 million with an annual cap hit of $6 million per season.
It’s time for me to give the devil his due, and in this case, the devil is the general manager of the New York Islanders: Garth Snow. The much-maligned general manager has had his boisterous critics (*raises hand*) and while much of it has been well-deserving, maybe, just maybe, Snow is ready to have the last laugh.
The Jack Adams award is given out each year to the coach who is judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success in the National Hockey League. If you were to ask Isles fans about Jack Capuano’s name being thrown into the list of candidates for the award a year ago, you would have received plenty of laughs.
Despite being the next winningest coach for the Islanders after Al Arbour, Capuano had drawn the ire of the Islanders faithful for his inability to provide Nassau Coliseum ice with a winning hockey team after making the playoffs the year before.
But considering the success of the Islanders this season, it would be inconsiderate of the league to not take a look at Capuano when deciding who should be nominated for the award.
It was just one win, but sometimes “one” win can mean a heck of a lot more than two points. Thursday night against the league-best Nashville Predators may just turn into one of those wins for the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders played host to their former coach Peter Laviolette and the Nashville Predators, who are currently sporting the best record in the National Hockey League. But the Islanders would prevail as the best team on the ice, battling their way to a 5-2 win at Nassau Coliseum.
The trade deadline is less than three weeks away and for what is a rare occurrence in recent years, the Islanders are in a position to potentially “buy” and not “sell” before March 2nd. While the rumor mill is heating up around the league, it is time to re-assess what the Islanders should do leading up to the deadline as they prepare for a playoff run.