New York Islanders: Must Win Tonight vs Canadiens

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 24: Mathew Barzal
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 24: Mathew Barzal /

After a mostly-lifeless performance against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night, the New York Islanders come home tonight for the back-end of a home-and-home with Les Habitants.

As much as tonight’s contest with the Canadiens is a must-win for the New York Islanders in their quest for a wild-card berth, is it a must-win for this team in the big picture? That’s an awfully debatable question.

Social media has been throwing this argument around for some time now. The question was, will the Islanders take the route of their archrivals the Rangers and set themselves up for the future at the trade deadline or will they keep an eye on the future and build towards that?

Isles’ GM Garth Snow made it very clear which way he was taking this franchise in the short-term at the deadline and here we are.

Only four points (and minus a couple of games in hand) out of a postseason spot, Isles’ team brass decided that this likely wasn’t the year for them and only made a couple of minor additions in Chris Wagner and Brandon Davidson.

New York Islanders could still make a run

That doesn’t count out a possible Cinderella-story for the Islanders this season, though. They can still make a run at one of those final spots and would surely give any team they face in a seven-game series fits.

Or, on the other hand, the Isles could finish out the year in disappointing fashion and find themselves holding onto two first-round and two second-round draft picks in the (possibly) top-ten picks of each respective round in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.

More from Eyes On Isles

Ultimately, when we, as fans, are faced with the prospects of either watching this year’s Islanders team make a run or crash-and-burn, our decision is easy. We want to watch a competitive team, understandably.

Let’s hope for the best…

But for a franchise who (geez, how many times have I muttered these words over the last twenty-something years) is hopefully a couple of years away from serious contention, a full-handful of top picks in a deep draft could go a very long way.

If the Isles’ captain, John Tavares, does indeed re-sign before the end of this season, it would give this franchise a much clearer vision into the future. Hopefully, everything will be straightened out by the time the draft rolls around.

Next: Andrew Ladd Buyout Isn't Worth It

Until then, though, let’s all hope that the New York Islanders can make the most of a favorable current position heading into the home-stretch of the season. No matter who’s on the roster.