Team Overview: NEW YORK ISLANDERS

New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: By the Numbers

2014-2015
Overall Record: 47-28-7-101
Standings: Metropolitan Division: 3, Eastern Conference: 5, League: 10
Playoff Result: Eliminated by Washington in Conference Quarterfinals (series: 4-3 WSH)

2015-2016
Overall Record: 9-6-3-21
Home Record: 5-3-2
Away Record: 4-3-1
Shootout Record: 0-1
Standings: Metropolitan Division: 4, Eastern Conference: 5, League: 11
Goals For: 49 (NHL rank: 8)
Goals Against: 41 (NHL rank: 22)
Power Play Percentage: 18.4 percent (NHL rank: 17)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 86 percent (NHL rank: 5)
Leading Scorer: John Tavares (7-7-14)
 

2015-2016 Overview:

The New York Islanders didn’t make too many changes this past offseason; after all, there wasn’t much of a need for drastic change. The Islanders had a great season last year and fought very hard in the playoffs against a tough Washington Capitals team. The Capitals came close to making it to the Conference Finals, so the Islanders certainly lost to a worthy opponent. Though the game 7 loss was a tough pill to swallow, especially since the Islanders didn’t compete as fiercely in game 7 as they had throughout the season and the rest of the first-round series, there is a lot this young Islanders team took away from that experience. This year, the team is one year older, one year wiser and one year hungrier. The Islanders are a hard-working and relentless team led by one of the best players in the NHL in captain John Tavares. Though there were rumors this offseason that Kyle Okposo might be on his way out because his contract is due to expire at the end of this season, Okposo remains an Islander and is now back on the top line with JT. The Islanders were without starting netminder Jaroslav Halak for the first chunk of the season due to injury, but backup goalie Thomas Greiss and the rest of the squad took care of business. The Islanders now sit in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division, which is a great place to be, especially for a team that is winning but hasn’t even reached its true potential yet. There is a lot in store for the Islanders this year, and the season has only just begun.
 

 
Last Game: November 13 vs. Anaheim (Final: 4-1)
Next Game: November 16 vs. Arizona, 7:00pm EST
 

Waivers:
Claimed G Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from Los Angeles.
 

Line Combinations

Here are the line combinations the New York Islanders used in the team’s most recent game:
 
Forwards
Nelson-Tavares-Okposo
Lee-Nielsen-Bailey
Kulemin-Grabovski-Bernier
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Defensemen
Leddy-Hamonic
De Haan-Boychuk
Pelech-Strait

Goalies
Halak
Greiss
 

Offseason Overview

Trades:

  • D Griffin Reinhart to Edmonton for 2015 1st-round pick (16) and 2015 2nd-round pick (33)
  • F Michael Grabner to Toronto for F Carter Verhaeghe, G Christopher Gibson, D Tom Nilsson, F Taylor Beck and D Matthew Finn

Re-Signed:

  • D Thomas Hickey (3-year deal with AAV* of $2.2 million)
  • D Kevin Czuczman (1-year contract at $874,125)
  • F Mike Halmo (1-year contract at $874,125)
  • F Brock Nelson (3-year deal with AAV* of $2.5 million)
  • G Stephon Williams (2-year ELC with AAV* of $925,000)
  • D Kyle Burroughs (3-year ELC with AAV* of $630,000)
  • F Anders Lee (4-year deal with AAV* of $3.75 million)
  • F Kirill Petrov (1-year ELC at $875,000)
  • G Kevin Poulin (1-year contract at $650,000)–later claimed by Tampa Bay
  • F Mathew Barzal (3-year ELC with AAV* of $925,000)
  • F Anthony Beauvillier (3-year ELC with AAV* of $925,000)

Free Agents Signed:

  • G Thomas Greiss (2-year deal with AAV* of $1.5 million)
  • F Joe Whitney (1-year contract at $750,000)
  • F Ben Holmstrom (1-year contract at $750,000)
  • F Justin Florek (1-year contract at $725,000)
  • F Louis Leblanc (1-year contract at $625,000)–contract mutually terminated; now in KHL-Russia
  • D Marek Zidlicky (1-year contract at $1.5 million)
  • F Steve Bernier (1-year contract at $750,000)
  • F Bracken Kearns (1-year contract at $775,000)
  • F Justin Vaive (1-year contract at $650,000)
  • F James Wright (1-year contract at $800,000)
  • F Eric Boulton (1-year contract at $575,000)
  • F Tyler Barnes–PTO (later released)

Draft Recap:

  • Round 1 (16) C Mathew Barzal
  • Round 1 (28) LW Anthony Beauvillier
  • Round 3 (82) D Mitchell Vande Sompel
  • Round 4 (112) D Parker Wotherspoon
  • Round 5 (147) D Ryan Pilon
  • Round 6 (172) D Andong Song
  • Round 7 (202) D Petter Hansson

Notable Extensions:
None

Free Agents Lost:

  • G Michal Neuvirth–Philadelphia
  • D Aaron Ness–Washington
  • F Colin McDonald–Philadelphia
  • F Harry Zolnierczyk–Anaheim
  • F Johan Sundstrom–Frolunda HC (Sweden)
  • F Tyler Kennedy–UFA
  • F Dustin Jeffrey–Arizona
  • D Mark Louis–UFA
  • F Alex Mallet–UFA
  • D Lubomir Visnovsky–UFA
  • F Kael Mouillierat–Pittsburgh
  • G Kent Simpson–UFA
  • F Jason Clark–UFA
  • D Matt Donovan–Buffalo
  • F Brett Gallant–Columbus

Buyouts:
None

Organizational Changes:

  • Reached an affiliation agreement with Missouri (ECHL) for the next two seasons
  • Named George McPhee as special adviser to the general manager

 
*AAV=Average Annual Value (cap hit)
 

Significant Moves

New York Islanders

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders did not make significant moves this offseason; in fact, the team barely made any moves at all, significant or not. The Islanders were smart to keep all the pieces of the puzzle intact rather than making drastic moves just because the team didn’t advance past the first round of the playoffs. The Islanders did what they had to do by re-signing important components of the lineup, such as Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Thomas Hickey. The club went out and got a legitimate backup goaltender to replace Michal Neuvirth (and Chad Johnson before him); Thomas Greiss has played very well for the team so far this season. The Islanders did not trade Kyle Okposo despite rumors suggesting he might be on the block. In a transitional year as the Islanders club moves to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it makes sense that the team should not have to go through much of a transitional period in the locker room. However, the lack of change can be representative of the “work hard and battle” mentality that general manager Garth Snow and the rest of the Islanders organization wishes to employ now and in the near future.
 

Final Thoughts

The New York Islanders had an impressive season last year. It seemed as though all of the drafting, development and slow-but-steady acquisition of talent finally paid off in a big way, as the Isles were one of the most competitive teams in the National Hockey League. The Islanders team from last season was tough, competitive and fearless. From having one of the most talented players in the league in Tavares to having one of the best fourth lines in hockey with Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck, to having solid goaltending and having a strong defense with Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk leading the charge, the team had and has a lot of things to be proud of. The Islanders can continue this season knowing that they already proved they are a top team, they already proved they are a playoff team and they already proved they can go toe-to-toe with any formidable opponent. Now it’s about stepping up and taking control. New York has the talent, the discipline, the coaching, the scoring, the defense, the goaltending and the leadership necessary to put together a strong playoff run. The regular season is a long and winding road, but if the Islanders can stay true to the team’s hard-working identity, then it would be surprising to see the Isles miss the playoffs this year.

 
 
Featured image credit: via islanders.nhl.com