The NY Islanders believe this isn't the same roster from last season

Vancouver Canucks v New York Islanders
Vancouver Canucks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The names on the NY Islanders roster may be the same as they finished with last season, but there sure is a different feeling heading into training camp this season.

Perhaps the most significant addition is having Mat Barzal back after his regular season-ending injury suffered in February. The Islanders' most expensive player is now healthy and ready to contribute, whether down the middle or the wing.

The only names that didn't start last season with the Islanders but are essentially locked into the opening night roster are Bo Horvat and Pierre Engvall. Both played a significant role in the Isles' playoff push and will now have a full training camp to prepare for the first year of their new contracts.

"Obviously we have a lot of the same guys coming back, but I think everybody's excited," said Horvat "We do have a lot of really good pieces here and a lot of good talent, and it's a really tight-knit group here. Everybody knows what to expect from each other."

The Islanders' biggest move last season was acquiring Horvat and immediately extending him for eight years, as he'll spend his prime playing on Long Island. A few weeks later, Lou Lamoriello traded for Engvall, who had an instantaneous impact on the team and brought an element of speed to the forward group that was desperately needed.

"From the end of the year it's obviously the same guys," said Ryan Pulock on the Isles two mid-season additions. "Adding Horvat and you know, I think there's a couple of pieces, key pieces we added at the deadline with Engvall, that it's different from the start of last season. Them coming in with a full season, starting training camp, I think it's going to be good for the team."

First-year Head Coach Lane Lambert was tasked with reshaping his roster last season after the additions of Horvat and Engvall. A challenging duty for any head coach, but especially one in his first year, Lambert has had the time to familiarize himself with the two as he prepares to integrate his "new" players into their first training camp with the team.

"I look at this as a new group," said Lambert. "I look at it also with the way we finished the season in terms of our last stretch of games where we played very, very well heading into the playoffs. Those guys, Pierre and Bo, came in and helped us out a lot, so to me, it's exciting to start fresh with that group that we finished with.

Though he started the season with the Islanders, Oliver Wahlstrom appeared in just 35 games before missing the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Wahlstrom has yet to skate alongside Engvall or Horvat in an official capacity, as he can be considered a pivotal addition to the team that was missed for most of last season.

"I'm excited," says Lambert on the return of Wahlstrom. "I knew the game he went down that we were going to miss him and we did. He's coming off what you would say is a significant injury. He's had a great summer. The time frame for him has been good so I'm looking forward to seeing him.

Whether or not there has been turnover within the roster, the players are the ones who have to step onto the ice every day and prove they are better collectively than last year. The time together before the season begins should help their cause, but the results on the ice will tell if it has paid off.