We're just about two and a hlaf months away from the start of the 2023-24 NHL season as the rosters for the NY Islanders and the rest of the league are beginning to take shape. It's always fun (or angering) to see where the talking heads and experts at the big media outlets rank each team at various points of the season, and recently, Canadian media giants Sportsnet released their mid-summer NHL power rankings.
The Islanders, who have spent their off-season thus far concentrating on keeping their roster from last season intact, have only signed one new face, depth forward Julian Gauthier. What seems to be a modest team for the past few years, Ryan Dixon ranks the Isles just so. Ranked 18th on his list, the Isles sit between the Minnesota Wild and the Ottawa Senators.
"It feels like you can basically lock the Isles into one of the wild-card berths or finishing one point out of the playoffs. Extending Ilya Sorokin means New York’s baseline is going to be that of a competitive team for a while; it’s just a question of where the ceiling is. "- Ryan Dixon, Sportsnet
Dixon seems to believe that the other teams in the Metropolitan Divison have done more than the Isles to improve their chances next season, as the blue and orange are ranked sixth in the Division, ahead of only the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, who both missed the playoffs last season, are ranked 15 and 16, respectively - while last season's Metro champions, the Carolina Hurricanes, sit seventh, and nearby rivals the New Jersey Devils and NY Rangers come in at fifth and twelfth.
The Isles will likely spend this season in a comfortable position, trying to prove people wrong. If they're going to make an impact this season, they'll need to get off to a hot start and not find themselves chasing the teams ahead of them in the standings in the second half of the season.