The NY Islanders season was saved by the trade deadline being pushed back in 2024

Had the trade deadline still been in February, the Isles roster may have looked different in March.

New York Islanders v Dallas Stars
New York Islanders v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The NY Islanders had an unclear direction throughout January and February. After the New Year's Eve loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team's record was 17-10-9. At the time, we normally could not formulate a proper determination about the team since the season was still too early. The Islanders blew countless third-period leads in October and November including to last-place teams like the San Jose Sharks. They had also made comebacks against playoff-caliber opponents like the Los Angeles Kings.

William Eklund
San Jose Sharks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

In just the turn of a calendar year, the Islanders began plummeting in the standings. From the span of January 2nd to February 24th, the Islanders' record was 6-10-5 including brutal overtime losses to the Colorado Avalanche and New York Rangers. The team also lost to bottom-tier opponents like the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks, which subsequently resulted in Lane Lambert being relieved of his duties. Even after Patrick Roy initially took over, the 'country club' mindset still existed through February 24th's loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In late February of past seasons, time would have been expiring for the Islanders to turn their season around.

The trade deadline being pushed back to March 8th saved the Islanders' season.

Heading into February 26th's matchup against the Dallas Stars, the Isles' record was 23-20-24. The fanbase felt beaten down as a plurality were now calling for a full rebuild at the March 8th trade deadline. However, the Isles caught fire after Roy changed the lineup card and went on a five-game winning streak through March 7th. During this span, they defeated all playoff-caliber teams with the exception of the Sharks.

The saving grace for the Islanders is that the trade deadline was not until March 8th. Had the Islanders posted this record in a scheduling format like 2020 where the deadline was February 24th, Lou Lamoriello may have taken a different approach. The team was 7 points out of a playoff spot on that date this season. Even if it were last season where the deadline was on March 3rd, just a couple of wins in a row may have not been convincing enough to stick with the same roster moving forward.

It can be argued trade deadlines so late in the season prevent more teams from buying. For instance, most teams are aware of their season's trajectory by early March as it becomes blatantly obvious if they are a Stanley Cup contender. A trade deadline in January as an example is still early enough to where most teams are bundled together in the standings.

However, the Islanders were one of a few fringe teams that could make the argument to take either direction. The five-game winning streak forced Lamoriello's hand in sticking with the same group that had shown resiliency in the face of a tougher schedule heading into March 8th. Had this been past seasons, the Islanders would not have had this opportunity to turn things around before the front office made a decision.