It was a tough weekend for the New York Islanders organization and their fans. They saw their franchise player for the last ten years leave. The Isles now must move forward.
It’s a somber day for the New York Islanders and their fan base. John Tavares is no longer an Islander.
At the end of the day, there was too much baggage and even Lou Lamoriello couldn’t stop Tavares from leaving. Countless building fiascos, the team’s performance the last two years, and most importantly Garth Snow’s stewardess on guiding this team for over a decade.
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It’s ironic that Tavares leaves now with so much pointing upwards for the franchise. Lamoriello is now running the show, Barry Trotz is the coach for the next five years, the team has a young superstar in Mathew Barzal, as well as a lot of young talent around him now and moving forward. Plus majority owner Scott Malkin who solved the building issue and is bringing the team back to Long Island is committed to making the Isles a top team in the NHL immediately and for the long-haul.
At the end of the day, it was a little too late. Now Lou and the fan base move forward.
The Isles have offense even with the loss of Tavares. Besides Barzal who led the team in points last season (85), they still have Anders Lee (40 Goals), Josh Bailey (71 Points), Jordan Eberle (59 Points), and Anthony Beauvillier (21 Goals) for their top two lines.
It will be interesting to see if Lou tries to add a top-six forward via trade or give a youngster a shot such as Keiffer Bellows or Oliver Wahlstrom.
There is no question in my mind with the same personnel as last year that Trotz will have the Isles play much better defense top to bottom in all three zones. Having said that adding a proven defenseman to this group would be a wise move by Lou.
Finally, the Isles need to add a starting goaltender. There is no reason why Thomas Greiss can’t be a really good goalie for the Isles next season playing between 30-35 games. The two years prior to last, as well as his unbelievable performance in the playoffs versus Florida and Tampa show that.
However, the Isles need a number one in net for those other games to be at minimum a playoff contending team.
Psychological it’s a tough day for the blue and orange faithful. Everyone around here knows how much frustration and suffering has occurred the last two decades.
Remember though, who is now running the franchise, who is now coaching the team, who now is the majority owner, and the young talent this team possesses. Probably won’t happen next season but big days are ahead.