Another decade of hockey has come and gone. For the Islanders, it was one of the best decades in recent memory. They found their head coach of the future in Barry Trotz, cornerstone franchise players such as Mat Barzal, Anders Lee and Ryan Pulock, and won their first playoff series in 23 years when they beat the Panthers back in 2016.
Now, it is time to look ahead. There is plenty to look forward to this decade. So today, as we celebrate the start of a new decade, let us take a look at what Islanders fans have to look forward in the 2020s
First and foremost, at the start of the 2021-22 season, the Islanders’ permanent home in Belmont will finally open its doors. This one-billion-dollar project will feature a hotel, massive shopping mall, a new station for the Long Island Rail Road, and, of course, the brand new home of the New York Islanders with a seating capacity of 17,113, which is over 3,000 more seats than the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum has.
Also during the 2021-22 season, the Islanders will be celebrating their 50th anniversary. The celebration will certainly celebrate the long and storied history of the Islanders in a brand new building. While memories such as the 1980s dynasty and recent strong play will most definitely be celebrated, the new arena will most definitely be the home of new memories.
However, the most exciting part of the future is the players. The Islanders have many young stars all over the hockey world that are soon to put their name in the Islanders history books.
Young defenseman Noah Dobson has already made a name for himself in an Islanders jersey. As of January 4th, the 19-year-old defenseman has played in 12 games and logged two assists. Dobson will now be slotted into an important defensive role following the injury to Adam Pelech which takes him out for the remainder of the season.
Another young exciting player for the Islanders is winger Oliver Wahlstrom. The 19-year-old scoring machine has only participated in nine NHL games to this point but, has shown promise in the AHL this season with three goals and six assists in 20 games played. There are high expectations for the young forward-moving on into his career.
The most hyped-up prospect for the Islanders, however, is 24-year-old Russian netminder Ilya Sorokin. Drafted by the Islanders in 2014, Sorokin has yet to play for in the United States for the Islanders, but Sorokin is finally set to join the NHL side in 2020. In his three seasons with CSKA Moscow, Sorokin is yet to have a goals-against average over two. Just last season, he helped CSKA Moscow win the KHL championship, winning playoff MVP in the process. Sorokin has the potential to be the elite goalie the Islanders have lacked for decades.
The next decade of Islanders hockey is set to be the most exciting and promising ones in recent memory. All Islanders fans across the globe will be on the edge of their seats as they watch the Islanders in the drive for their fifth Stanley Cup!