New York Islanders | Rank: 7th
2017-18 Record: 35-37-10 (7th)
by: Matt O’Leary
Obviously, the Islanders expectations changed when they were unable to reach an agreement with John Tavares. Losing Tavares takes a ton of depth away from the Isles.
Instead of having JT and Mathew Barzal down the middle it’s Barzal up to the top line and either Jan Kovar or Brock Nelson as the second line center. That doesn’t necessarily scream center depth.
As the team sits right now they have an abundance bottom six forwards and bottom pairing defensemen. Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, Valtteri Filppula, Leo Komarov, Cal Clutterbuck, Ross Johnston, and Tom Kuhnackl are in the mix to be a part of their bottom six.
On the blue line, there weren’t any changes, and Calvin de Haan left in free agency. Yes, Ryan Pulock is expected to build on the season he just had but Boychuk is getting older, Leddy is coming off his worst year as an Islander and after that, it’s pretty barren.
There’s a lot of question marks with this team and need a lot to break right in order for them to be successful. They have pieces, but likely not enough in the competitive Metropolitan Division.
The addition of Barry Trotz behind the bench will likely help the team out defensively which is a major plus. With Lou Lamoriello upstairs and Trotz behind the bench, the Isles are set up for a solid future.