Islanders: Remembering How Bad The 2008-2009 Team Was
By Matt O'Leary
Taking a trip down memory lane, as we remember the 2008-2009 New York Islanders and just how bad that roster was.
Heading into the 2008-2009 season, expectations were fairly low for the Islanders. They had 79 points and a 35-38-9 record to their name the season prior and were coming in with a pretty unproven roster.
In free agency, they brought in veteran Doug Weight and Canadiens defenseman Mark Streit. Streit would hold down the blue line for five seasons, as the Isles number one defenseman.
While adding those two guys were important, they also lost Ruslan Fedotenko, Miroslav Satan, and Aaron Johnson in free agency. For the most part, the Isles tried to go young and it just didn’t work.
In December, they suffered a 10 game losing streak, and then after going 2-2 they’d go on to lose eight more in a row. Two wins over a 22 game sample is almost impressive.
Once the wheels began to fall off, Garth Snow was moving pieces out left and right. He dealt Brett Skinner, Chris Campoli, Mike Comrie, and Bill Guerin all before the trade deadline in 2009.
The team limped to the finish line going 26-47-9 finishing with 61 points (five points behind Tampa Bay) for the worst record in the league. So what was going wrong on the ice?
Well, for starters Joey MacDonald played 49 games in net. Outside of the 2008-2009 season, MacDonald never played more than 21 games in a season. He was 14-26-6 with a .901 save percentage and a 3.37 goals against average. Yikes.
That was the first year of Rick Dipietro missing a ton of time. He played just five regular-season games for the Isles and wasn’t productive in the little time he did play. The team finished with a .903 save percentage and a 3.23 goals against average.
Not only were they letting in tons of goals, but they weren’t scoring either. Defenseman, Mark Streit was the points leader with 56. The highest-scoring forward? 20-year-old Kyle Okposo with 39 points. 39 points was the highest scoring forward. That’s insane.
Okposo also had the team lead in goals with 18. Somehow, they didn’t finish worst in the league for goals, Colorado had 199 goals two behind the Isles. Don’t worry though, they finished with a league-worst -78 differential.
Mark Streit was the only skater who played more than 25 games who finished with a positive plus-minus. For lack of a better term, this team was a complete disaster.
Luckily, the tank was for a good cause, even if it didn’t end well. John Tavares as a consolation prize was pretty huge, especially when you consider that they didn’t have a 20 goal scorer on the roster.
The Isles still weren’t very good the following year, finishing with 79 points, but that 61 point season outlier sticks out like a black eye. Since then, the Isles haven’t finished below 73 points on a completed season.