Conference Outlook: New York Islanders

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was written for The Broad Street Bully, a blog and podcast my friend Drew and I started based off of our mutual interest in the Philadelphia Flyers. See it on http://broadstreetbully.net.]

It’s that time of the year to take a subjective look at the teams that share the Metropolitan division with the Flyers.  As a Flyers fan, you’re aware of what the Flyers have done to make the team better this offseason.  But you may not know what other teams have done.  So, I went through the past articles from this offseason for every Metropolitan team and compiled a list of the moves that I think will affect the division standings the most this upcoming season.

Every team has signings and releases that they go through every offseason.  I’m not worried too much about every move the team has made since the season ended.  I focused more on the moves that I think will have the biggest impact on the team’s play next season.

After the jump, we look at the New York Islanders.

The Islanders have an interesting offseason story.  The only real big splash the Islanders made this offseason was resigning Anders Lee.  What were the Islanders brass thinking, then?  How can they go into the offseason and not make any big splashes for a team that didn’t make it far into the playoffs?

My guess is that Islanders ownership didn’t think the team needed a big overhaul.  They finished third in the division with what they already had.  They locked up Lee because he was the only player they wanted to make sure the Islanders didn’t lose.  Now, they just sit back and hope their core players keep progressing.  If Tavares and Okposo have another year like they did last year, then the Islanders can only get better.  Okposo is also in a contract year so look for his play to be elevated.

Final overview: The Islanders didn’t do much this offseason but that doesn’t mean they weren’t making an attempt to get better.  Clearly, the Islanders’ owners assumed that to get better they just had to stay the same.  Will their belief pay off?  Only the players can prove it on the ice.  With a move to the Barclays Center, the Islanders will have a new home and a new chance to write history this year.

Will they challenge for a playoff spot?  If the Islanders play like they did last year, then probably.  But, in the past years, the Islanders have been known to flounder late in the season so anything is possible.

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