The New York Islanders are on pace for 106 points this year. That would be the most they’ve had in a season since 1981-1982.
There was very little hope on July 1, 2018. John Tavares left the New York Islanders in a cloud of smoke headed for greener pastures in Toronto, Canada. The Maple Leafs were anointed as the Stanley Cup favorite while the Islanders were dismissed, sentenced to a season fighting for a lottery pick.
A lot has changed since then. The Maple Leafs have struggled, in terms of expectations, with 60 points this year trailing Tampa Bay for the Division lead by 16 points. While the Isles find themselves in first place with 62 points.
The miraculous climb to first place has been extremely entertaining to watch. After underachieving the last two seasons, it’s nice to see Barry Trotz come in here and overachieve.
With 62 points in 48 games, that puts the Islanders on pace for 106 points. If you’ve been a fan for a while you’ll realize how special even eclipsing the 100 point mark is. It’s only been done twice by the Islanders in the last 35 years.
The 2014-2015 Islanders finished with 101 points, while the 2015-2016 team finished with 100. The last time they eclipsed the 100 point mark before that you have to go all the way back to the 1983-1984 season.
The Islanders made the playoffs 12 times in between 100 point seasons, which isn’t awful (roughly once every three years). They just were never a dominant team until 2014-2015.
That was also the last time the Islanders were in first place, a position they held most of the year before falling off to the three seed in the Metro before taking a first round exit. While they were considered a contender for most of that year, you could make the case that this team is in much better shape.
Barry Trotz is a far superior coach than Jack Capuano. Trotz coached Cappy under a bus in the playoffs that year anyway, and it already is showing with this club how much better the Islanders are off with a quality coach.
That’s something they’ve lacked in this 37 year stretch in between 106+ point seasons, a quality coach. In 1981-1982, the last time they had 106 or more points (118) the Isles were on there way to a third straight Stanley Cup with Al Arbour behind the bench.
Now, they have Trotz who literally just passed Al in career wins this season. They’d need 44 points in 34 remaining games to accomplish this. Is something like 20-10-4 the rest of the way really that crazy?
I mean, in their last 34 games they have a 21-11-2 record which is exactly 44 points. If the Isles play literally the same way they did in the last 34 games, a significant sample size, they should be able to hit 106 points.
Regardless, this season has been remarkable in more ways than one. The Islanders are in first place and have arrived way ahead of schedule. Just enjoy the ride.