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Islanders playoff berth didn’t really prove them wrong this time

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 20: The New York Islanders celebrate a 6-1 victory over the New York Rangers at the Nassau Coliseum on April 20, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 20: The New York Islanders celebrate a 6-1 victory over the New York Rangers at the Nassau Coliseum on April 20, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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For the third straight year, the New York Islanders have made the playoffs. Something that hasn’t happened to this franchise since the early 2000s. Now that the Isles are in, it feels like we have to go around and tell everyone that doubted them.

But as you start making the rounds of the usual suspects you realize that there wasn’t that much doubt this time around.

Look, there are certainly a number of people who doubted the Islanders could make the playoffs this year, but it hasn’t been this media-wide lol-fest at the expense of the Blue and Orange like in 2018-19 when Deadspin wrote this little piece ranking all 31 teams from “best to Islanders”.

New York Islanders getting credit

Honestly, it feels like we’re constantly wagging this war against the national media who just won’t give the Islanders enough credit. But that hasn’t necessarily been the case this season.

When NBCSN polled six of their writers three of them had the Islanders in a playoff spot. Those who didn’t have the Isles in one of the four playoff spots in the East had them in fifth. Just on the cusp of the post-season.

Over at NHL.com, an overwhelming majority of their writers had the Isles in a playoff position in the East. Only three of 15 writers didn’t list the Isles in one of the four playoff positions in the East. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1st: 1*
  • 2nd: 1
  • 3rd: 4
  • 4th: 6
  • N/A: 3

(*No this lone first-place vote wasn’t Bryan Compton [he had them 2nd]. It was Mike Morreale.)

Analytics models don’t usually like the Islanders. On paper, they aren’t a “great” team. They don’t score enough and don’t generate enough to factor as a top team. But even the people who develop these models know that the Islescould easily prove them wrong this year.

Dom Luszczyszyn from the Athletic had the following note (subscription required) for his model that said the Isles would finish with ~61 points on the season:

"During the playoffs, the Islanders were legitimately a team this model would’ve loved, an actual analytics darling. If that’s the team that shows up this regular season, New York will cruise into the playoffs rendering the bearish projection outlined above moot."

The New York Islanders are a good team and have been for a while now. And it’s clear that everyone is finally starting to acknowledge it.

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