Expectations aren’t high for the New York Islanders as they enter their 46th NHL season. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where it ends up worse. So here’s five.
Many pundits and analysts in every NHL market have the New York Islanders finishing at or near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division in 2018-19. It makes sense. On paper, the Islanders don’t stand out like many of the other teams in the division.
Note: This post will be followed up with five reasons 2018-19 could be a success. Expect that tomorrow.
Sure they have 2018 Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal to lead the attack, and they even have Ryan Pulock emerging as a top tier blue liner. They even have a pretty good top six forward group. But surrounding these pieces are a number of lesser players.
The Islanders bottom six is actually two fourth lines rather than a typical depth attacking line as the third group. Both lines don’t look particularly strong going forward. The Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck trio will certainly be tough to play against, but it’s hard to see that helping that much in a league dominated by speed and skill.
Bringing in Luca Sbisa to round out the defensive corps has weakened the Isles on blue line. A blue line that was the worst in the NHL last season under Doug Weight.
The expectations are low for the New York Islanders for exactly these reasons. A failure would mean that the New York Islanders somehow underwhelm on the already underwhelming expectations for them. How do they do that? How can things be worse than they already look in 2018-19?
Here are five ways.