Don't fall behind in the standings early
The Islanders should have learned last season that a bad start will most likely add up to too big of a mountain to climb. Last season the Islanders found themselves with a 5-10-5 record come early December.
The 13-game road trip to start the season (to give UBS Arena extra time for its grand opening) and the stretch where the Isles lost numerous players to Covid put them behind the eight-ball. The Isles did play better from that point on, finishing the season with 84 Points (37-35-10), but it was well shy of the last spot in the playoffs (Washington Capitals was the 8th seed with 100 Points).
It appears the Eastern Conference is now even more difficult than last year.
All eight playoff teams from the East believe they can return to the postseason once again this season. In addition to the Islanders believing they can return to their top-form and be a playoff team once again, the Ottawa Senators (Alex DeBrincat, Cam Talbot, Claude Giroux) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (Johnny Gaudreau) have high hopes as well with their off-season moves.
That's 11 teams for 8 spots and that's assuming there isn't a surprise team from the East that no one is currently considering. The Eastern Conference is a beast so falling behind in the standings to start the season is a recipe for disaster.