Why the New York Islanders' Disappointing Finish Matters
Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Cameron Gaunce (R) celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the second period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders’ disappointing finish speaks volumes about the state of the team.

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings… well actually, it’s over.

With the New York Islanders’ postseason hopes hinging on the team’s matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, the Isles came out desperate, hungry and ready to win.

Just kidding.

Just like they’ve done so often this season, the Isles squandered a golden opportunity — three actually — and pretty much ended any hopes of a playoff run. For a team that has competed in some high stakes contests over the past few seasons, it’s certainly baffling, and maybe a bit disturbing, too.

Here’s why the recent string of losses is even worse when looking at the big picture: this offseason, with the exception of Dennis Seidenberg, the Isles don’t have any UFAs, which means that barring any significant trades or moves, the 2017-18 Islanders will look awfully similar to the 2016-17 Islanders.

That’s a problem because not only weren’t the 2016-17 Islanders very good, but they couldn’t win the big game. This is concerning because even if next season’s team gets off to a better start and makes the playoffs, winning the important ones might be a problem.

This summer, the relatively new ownership group will have some decisions to make. Will they retain Garth Snow and/or Doug Weight? Will they hire a president of hockey operations? Will they pressure the team’s decision-makers to be more aggressive, or will they accept that the team is a couple of years away?

They’ll have all offseason to contemplate this, but here’s something to think about right now: How disappointing was this finish?

Sure, the Isles surmounted the odds and made a stunning reversal under interim head coach Doug Weight. There were even guys — most notably Anders Lee and Josh Bailey — who had breakout seasons. But at the end of the day, New York crumbled when it mattered most and fell short of their goal for the season (admittedly, they could still win out and make things interesting).

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.