To Whom It May Concern:
This magical season we witnessed may be over, but the memories made from this season will last a lifetime. Not many people believed in the New York Islanders coming into the 2018-19 season, due to the recent departure of former captain John Tavares. But the players who donned the Islanders crest didn’t care for any of the negativity coming from the media or hockey analysts.
They just wanted to play hockey.
Islanders fans had the honor and privilege to watch Barry Trotz and his entire coaching staff take over the team and have players such as Adam Pelech, Robin Lehner, and Ryan Pulock blossom into stars. Seeing the team grow and develop as a whole through the course of the season was fantastic, as they kept on winning games and outworking teams every single shift.
Anders Lee had a terrific first season as captain, once again leading the team in goals with twenty-eight this season. He is certainly the captain of the fans, as the entire fan base adores Lee and loves the emotion he brings every game.
Second-year pro, Mathew Barzal, had another phenomenal season with the Islanders. Barzal appeared in his first NHL All-Star game this season, which is a huge accomplishment for the twenty-one year old.
Additionally, Josh Bailey entered his eleventh season with the New York Islanders. He had big expectations since he wouldn’t have John Tavares centering his line anymore. Bailey’s scoring went slightly down from last season, but his clutch gene was shown countless times this season.
The Islanders defense went from being the worst in the league last season to the best throughout the entire league this season, the “Barry Trotz Effect” at its finest.
One of the most underrated defensemen on the team this season was Scott Mayfield. Mayfield was a very important defenseman who took a major leap in development defensively this season.
The reemergence of Johnny Boychuk was another amazing story coming from the defenseman core this season, as he had his best all-around season with the Islanders since 2014-15. The entire defensive core was outstanding, but the future is even brighter. Prospects Noah Dobson and Bode Wilde were amazing on their respective teams and will be major pieces moving forward with the organization.
Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss were absolutely brilliant this season with help from the “Goalie Guru” Mitch Korn. Lehner was another player adored by the Islander faithful, as the entire fan base always backed him up and supported him after talking about his mental health and the struggles he overcame this off-season.
Greiss bounced back from a rough 2017-18 campaign, showing that his great season two years ago wasn’t a fluke. The goalie tandem was so great this year that they won the William M. Jennings Award, which meant they allowed the least combined goals as a pair.
The Islanders returning to NYCB Live in Uniondale was another major high point of this season. So many remarkable memories were already made in such a short time at Nassau Coliseum. The chants that happened during the infamous Tavares return game back in late February will always be remembered as one of the most electric experiences during a non-playoff game in NHL history.
The Islanders lived and died by the “Prove People Wrong” motto once again and turned a lot of heads with their very successful season. With the changes made within the organization last off-season, the expectations to be competent were certainly there, but to compete and go as far as the Islanders did this season was historic. Islanders fan hopes of realistically becoming a contender once again seem feasible. All that can be done from here is to beLIeve in this organization and the players representing the crest.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this wonderful season as a coach, player, and most importantly, a fan. The passion brought from the fanbase each and every Islanders game is truly something special and unlike most arenas throughout the league. Watching games with the fantastic crowds at NYCB Live was something truly special to witness, as everyone acts like a family there. Nothing will beat being in massive group hug between two rows after Josh Bailey scored the winning goal in overtime in Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Once again, thank you for being yourselves.
It was a heck of a ride.
A Confident, Positive Islanders Fan