After losing franchise player, John Tavares, expectations were really low for the Islanders last season. They surprised everyone when Barry Trotz’ defensive system and Vezina worthy goaltending from Robin Lehner put them on the path to not only a 2nd place finish in the Metropolitan Division but a sweep of the Penguins in the first round. They were then swept in the second round by the Hurricanes but it was an impressive season for the Isles.
Additions: Semyon Varlamov, Derick Brassard
Subtractions: Robin Lehner, Valteri Filppula
Derick Brassard replaces Valteri Filppula on the offense but he struggled to produce last season playing on three different teams. The Isles weren’t a high-scoring team last season and unless Mathew Barzal takes a big step forward they’ll struggle to find the net once again. They have very little depth with the worst ranked bottom-6 in the league.
Nick Leddy was one of the best defensemen at creating off the rush last year and will be looked on to provide offense once again. Noah Dobson looks like he’ll be sticking around and the Isles are hoping to get some good production out of their young prospect.
Losing Robin Lehner to free agency after being a Vezina Trophy finalist last season definitely hurts but the hope is that Semyon Varlamov can find the same magic Lehner did behind this stingy defense. If Varlamov falters they also have Thomas Greiss who’s proving to be a really solid goalie.
The Point Prediction:
After a great rebound year, the Islanders come back down to earth coming last in the Metropolitan Division and 27th overall. They have a great defensive system but in the new NHL that’s getting faster and faster every day, it just won’t cut it.
(Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)