The New York Islanders’ 2017-18 campaign which has been a rollercoaster of a season. At first glance, an average person would say that it was a failed season because the Isles did not make the playoffs.
However, if you look deeper, there are a fair amount of silver linings that have emerged.
Mat Barzal exploded onto the scene as a young stud, propelling the Islanders with his offensive dominance. His ability to skate east to west and escape defenders is one of the best in the league.
Anders Lee with a career year, hitting his career high in goals, and Josh Bailey IS AN NHL ALL STAR! With all of the positives there definitely were some questions that were raised.
The biggest problem I thought was the team’s inability to play defense. The Isles finished top-five in the NHL in goals for, but yet are still a minus thirty five in goals against. Not all of the blame can be placed on the goaltending.
Calvin de Haan turned out to be a huge loss for the defensive core. Yes, it is easy to blame the defenseman for the goals allowed, but all five players on the ice, including the forwards, were atrocious in the defensive zone.
Whether it be making poor outlet passes or turning pucks over at the blue line, an NHL team should not be having these problems as they are fundamentals that players learn at a young age.
Now to the two biggest questions of the year: Where will John Tavares sign and should Garth Snow be fired? In my opinion, it is time for Garth to go. There have been too many times where trade deadline day comes and goes with nothing left to show for it. Especially this season, the Islanders were on the cusp of a Playoff spot and still were very much in contention. They just needed a spark to set them off.
Yes, Snow has made some great additions like Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuck. However, I don’t think he delivered when he needed to most. This season it was the same old story and just to show that he did something besides twiddle his thumbs on Deadline Day, he acquired Chris Wagner for Jason Chimera. Since his acquisition, Chris Wagner has a single point, while Chimera scored in his first game in a Ducks uniform.
If John Tavares does not get signed, that is a disgrace. Tavares is the face of this franchise and has led his team back to the playoffs and single handedly won the Islanders a playoff series for the first time since 1993. Although Tavares didn’t stick out as much with Barzal taking the spotlight, he is still an important part of this prized organization.
As the season winds down, all fans can do is pray for a good draft lottery pick to try and jump start this team once again.