After a surprising and impressive run in 2018-2019 the New York Islanders are projected to miss the playoffs this year. Is that a fair projection?
No one expected the New York Islanders to have the season they did last year. After losing John Tavares in free agency the prevailing thought was that it would be a tough year of regrouping before the building started.
That wasn’t the case. The Islanders shocked the world and finished with 103 points in the regular season and not only made the playoffs but won a round against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 2019-2020 roster changed only slightly. The Isles swapped Semyon Varlamov for Robin Lehner and Derick Brassard for Val Filppula. Everything else is essentially the same.
In Sean Tierney’s projections for 2019-2020 he has them finishing with 87 points which would put them sixth in the division. Sean is very good at what he does, I don’t want to make this an attack on Sean. He’s heavy into analytics and we know how the analytics are unkind to this team.
While I’m not surprised at the large regression, I do find it hard to believe the Islanders are going to drop 16 points with essentially the same roster. Yes, they had historic seasons from their goalies and had spectacular defense so we might see a slight regression in that regard.
Also, keep in mind the Isles had down years from Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle, and Anthony Beauvillier. If those guys get back to what they’ve done their entire career that should help negate the regression from the defensive side.
Do I think they finish with 103 points and second in the Metro again? Probably not, but as it stands right now there’s no reason to think they can’t finish somewhere in the high 90’s in points as either the third team in the Metro or a Wild Card spot.
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