Doug Weight is in his first full season as head coach for the New York Islanders. Through 94 games Weight has a 50-34-10 (.585) record. Much like with rookie players, the rookie coach still has much to learn.
The New York Islanders in Doug Weight’s early tenure have been a hot and cold team. Last year the Isles struggled under then head coach Jack Capuano. They were 17-17-8 through 42 games, and Capuano was let go.
This gave Weight just under half a season to gather head coaching experience. Thanks to a six-game winning streak to end the year the Islanders finished with 94 points, just one point out of a playoff spot. This was a Herculean effort, considering when Weight took over the Islanders were in last place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points.
Thanks to the strong finish the Islanders finished 24-12-4 under Weight. The Islanders began 2017-2018 almost equally as strong. Through November they sat at 15-7-2, which put them tied for second in the division. Weight’s record improved to 39-19-6 in his first 64 games.
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Going Ice Cold
In his last 30 games Weight has gone 11-15-4 and the Islanders have plummeted down the standings. Through 54 games the Islanders are 26-22-6 and are theoretically tied for the second wild-card spot (both the Islanders and Blue Jackets have 58 points, however, the Blue Jackets have played 53 games, thus giving them the tiebreaker).
The Islanders’ biggest problem this season has been defense. That’s why despite scoring the third most goals in the league they sit at a -18 in goal differential. They have allowed the most goals in the league by far with 196, that’s 14 more than the Arizona Coyotes’ 182!
Offseason was Time to make Coaching Change
If the Islanders wanted to go in a different direction for head coach, the offseason was the time to do it. The Isles didn’t waste much time in naming Weight the official head coach. They ended their season on April 9, and on April 12 Weight lost the interim tag and was officially named head coach.
At the time and to this day I believe it was the right move. Through 42 games this season the Islanders were 20-18-4. Weight finished his first 82 games with a 44-30-8 record which is good for 96 points.
Yes, the majority of Weight’s success has been in his first 64 games. Weight is a rookie head coach so he is still learning on the fly. Weight is in the midst of his first full season, so he has to figure out how to make adjustments.
Weight should be a good coach for the Islanders for years to come. Though he hasn’t been perfect, the Islanders slide this year hasn’t been a coaching issue, it has been a talent issue.