It’s been a long time since New York Islanders die-hard fans can truly say they are excited with the direction of this franchise. Sure, the Islanders made the playoffs recently but that’s a distant memory now. This season things are looking pretty.
If you are a 29-year-old male like myself, the New York Islanders have done next to nothing for you for years. I became a fan at eight years old, making that 21 years ago for those poor at math. In those 21 years, there have been only two seasons with even a hint of success.
First was the 2001-2002 season. That was a great year for the Isles, as additions Alexei Yashin and Michael Peca propelled the team to a 42-28-8-4 (there were ties back then) record.
That team would have won their first round match-up against the Maple Leafs, but dirty players like Darcy Tucker took out captain Michael Peca, along with arguably the Islanders best defenseman Kenny Jonnson.
The second was the 2015-2016 season. The New York Islanders were again having a great year. With John Tavares leading the way they finished 45-27-10 and got the first wild-card spot to face the Florida Panthers. It was an excellent series, and the Islanders wound up winning in six games, with an overtime goal by none other than John Tavares.
A Third, And Maybe More
Two seasons in 21 years. Not a good track record. But now, in 2019, it seems like success has returned for the third time. And maybe, it’s going to stick around for a while.
It’s now 2019, and John Tavares is a distant memory for this franchise and it’s fans. Mathew Barzal is the face of the team, and the farm system is incredible. Long gone are the days that an injury to a star player would plague the team for the rest of the season.
Devon Toews has come up and been an absolute stud on the blueline. With his long reach and incredibly fast skating ability, he has proven that the NHL is the only place for him. In just ten games, he already has three goals, which has him tied for the lead in goals for Isles defensemen.
The Islanders goaltending is absolutely crushing it right now as well. Robin Lehner is proving to be one of the best free agent acquisitions in the off season for any team.
Lehner is second in the league in save percentage at a .926%, but having played eight more games than Jack Campbell who is first at .930%. Lehner leads the league in GAA, giving up only 2.21 goals per game in 23 appearances. Let’s not forget about Thomas Greiss, who’s 14th in the league in save percentage and 17th in goals against per game.
The Isles also have plenty of assets they can get rid of at the deadline, where it’s almost certain that they will be buyers, unlike in years past. With Lou at the helm, look for them to add a big name. Long time fans haven’t seen the Islanders sit in a buying position for quite some time, and with a plethora of prospects, we are all a little excited to see what big bad Lou does.
Between the goaltending, defense, prospects, new coach, new system, new everything at this point, it’s safe to say that die-hard long-term New York Islanders fans have more to be excited about than it quite some time.
Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to face a first-round foe in the Toronto Maple Leaf? JT can wear his pajamas to the game like in the now infamous twitter pic.
I really get excited writing these articles, as someone who is a fan along with a contributor, it’s tough sometimes to stay professional when the team is playing terrible and you just want to scream through the computer.
Things are different now, and with a 25-15-4 record and the first wild-card spot, there’s not much I can scream about. Let’s look forward to a fun second half.