Since the turn of the Millenium, the New York Islanders have had eight teams make the playoffs. Here are the rankings of those teams.
Making the playoffs eight times in 20 seasons isn’t something to celebrate. For most of the last 20 years, the New York Islanders have been a poor franchise. Of those eight times that the team has made the playoffs, they’ve made it to the second round twice.
The last time the Islanders went to the Eastern Conference Final was in 1993, 27 years ago at this point. While playoff success and the Islanders haven’t been synonymous in nearly 30 years, younger fans hold these eight playoff teams near and dear to their hearts.
Of the eight times the teams that have been good enough for the playoffs, here are the rankings of those teams from worst to best:
8. 2003 – 83 points
The 2003 Isles were a pretty mediocre team. Alexei Yashin paced the team with just 65 points (26 goals, 39 assists). This team was filled with a bunch of okay to decent players like Jason Blake, Mark Parrish, Michael Peca, Adrian Aucoin and so on and so forth.
They were quickly knocked out of the first round in 5 games with the Senators and it got Peter Laviolette fired.
7. 2004 – 91 points
The next year, under Steve Sterling, they improved by almost 10 points despite losing Alexei Yashin, their best player, for a large chunk of the season. DiPietro had a solid year in net with a .911 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average.
They got bounced by the eventual Stanley Cup champions in round one in five games, but I give this team a slight nod over the 03 team because of the adversity they had to overcome losing Yashin and Mark Parrish for a chunk of the season.
6. 2007 – 92 Points
This is the team that won Garth Snow executive of the year. Jumping from 78 points up to 92 is an impressive turnaround, which gives them a nod over two of the three early 2000’s teams. Yashin again missed time but Snow was aggressive and brought in Ryan Smyth.
Smyth would put up 15 points in 18 games before walking out the door in free agency. DiPietro was also very solid in net again putting up a .919 save percentage and a 2.58 goals against average. They lost in 5 games against Buffalo in Round 1.
5. 2013 – 55 Points (Pace of 94 points)
After missing the playoffs from 2008-2012, the ragtag Islanders of 2013 were able to get themselves into the mix. Besides the big names like John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Mark Streit, the Isles got production out of guys like Colin McDonald and Brad Boyes.
This team, while maybe not as talented as the others listed on this list, gets some props for taking the Penguins to six games. If Evgeni Nabokov plays anywhere close to what he did in the regular season in that series, the Isles likely upset Pittsburgh.
4. 2002 – 96 Points
This team, while similarly constructed to the teams that came after them, just clicked. Yashin, Parrish, and Peca all had 60 points or more while Chris Osgood was very solid for that team in net all year.
They also had an all-time classic series against the Toronto Maple Leafs which gets remembered for Shawn Bates’ Game 4 Penalty Shot. They didn’t advance, but they were a fun team for sure.
3. 2016 – 100 Points
The 2015 and 2016 teams had nearly identical rosters. The main difference was the kind of production they were getting from other players. In 16, we saw Ryan Strome and Anders Lee take steps back, while Brock Nelson wasn’t able to build off a breakout 2015.
Somehow, on the back of John Tavares and Thomas Greiss, the Islanders were able to advance in the first round for the first time in 23 years with Alan Quine getting time in the top-six. The Panthers series is what you remember from this team.
2. 2015 – 101 Points
This team, after a hot start, rose up the standings and were beginning to get in the conversation of contenders. Unfortunately, they began to slide, and ended up finishing third in the division. They lost an intense seven-game series to Washington.
This was also perceived to be the last year at the Coliseum, so this holds a little more sentimental value over the 2016 team that advanced to the second round
1 2019 – 103 Points
After John Tavares left, this team was supposed to be a joke. Barry Trotz didn’t allow that to happen. On the backs of great goalie play from Robin Lehner and Thomas Griess, a solid defensive structure, and some clutch goals they were able to finish second in the Metro.
They swept the Penguins in Round 1, a massive surprise, before bowing out to Carolina in round two. 2019 will be remembered fondly as one of the more surprising seasons in Islanders history.
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Where would the 2020 team rank? I hope we get that chance, but as of now, I think this list of eight is going to have to suffice.