The New York Islanders have made some exciting updates to the franchise this offseason, so why don’t they have more hype surrounding them?
The elephant in the room. John Tavares left the Isles. Now that we’re past that, and the obvious first reaction to the question posed above, let’s look objectively at the reasons the New York Islanders should be getting hyped.
Even if you look objectively at the team from an outsider’s non-homer view, there’s still a lot to get excited about on the island.
Reasons for Hype
The Islanders have the reigning Calder Trophy winner in Mat Barzal, an 85-point rookie who electrified the league.
He has a 21-year-old winger in Anthony Beauvillier who scored 17 goals in the last 40 games of the season once they were paired up with Jordan Eberle.
Anders Lee and his 40 goals and Josh Bailey and his 53 assists, unlike John Tavares, have gone nowhere.
Lou Lamoriello, a Hall of Fame GM, is now running the franchise.
Garth Snow is not.
Barry Trotz, who just a few months ago won the Stanley Cup, is the coach for the next five years. The man has led his teams to 99+ point seasons in nine of the last twelve full seasons. Trotz will likely be joining Lou in the Hall of Fame eventually.
The owners have opened their wallets, and the team still has cap room to spare.
The Islanders were the talk of the 2018 NHL entry draft, stealing top-ten talents in Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson at picks 11 and 12, and then followed with another hot draft-weekend name in Bode Wilde in the second round.
The team announced a brand-new arena will be built in the next several years, back in the area where the team belongs. And speaking of which, the Islanders return to the site of their glory days to play a twenty games in the arena that both the players and fans love.
Top prospect Kieffer Bellow is knocking on the door and ready to usher in a new wave of Islanders talent along with lightning-fast Devon Toews.
The goaltending is revamped, bringing in goalie Robin Lehner as well as an incredible mentor and goaltending legend in Mitch Korn as Director of Goaltending to get the best out of him.
The most exciting (if perhaps not ‘best’ anymore) fourth line in hockey is back and will be absolutely lighting up the arena and opponents nightly.
Why the Hype Doesn’t Exist
Outside of the obvious point noted above, it’s also been an exciting summer with big-name signings and bigger name trades.
A summer of Pacioretty and Karlsson rumors. Ryan O’Reilly, Jeff Skinner, Max Pacioretty, Philipp Grubauer, Dougie Hamilton, Max Domi, Alex Galchenyuk and Erik Karlsson all moved in deals.
Artemi Panarin may move in a deal.
The Mike Hoffman drama.
Ovechkin’s hilarious Stanley Cup tour.
The Sedins retired.
Steve Yzerman is leaving the Lightning.
And yes, all that excitement above wrapped up in Maple Leafs bedsheets.
Same Old Islanders
But even with all the excitement in the offseason, the Islanders simply cannot get the league to hype them up. They have given so few reasons for hype the last ten years, so it will take something special to earn it.
They play second fiddle to the Rangers in the New York media, and their home arena Barclays Center is a joke.
The Isles made peculiar signings like Leo Komarov for four years with a modified no-trade clause, leaving people to wonder if Milbury and Snow were still somehow haunting the organization.
Want your voice heard? Join the Eyes On Isles team!
In spite of all of that, I for one am excited for the upcoming season. Strip away the odd signings and historically-bad defense last year and you have an offensively-gifted team with exciting young talent, proven veteran players and the right (and possibly only) coaches who can fix the defense and goaltending.
There may be no hype yet, but there should be. And I believe there will be.