New York Islanders Daily Insight, 5/25/17: How To Win the Offseason
Mar 7, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) and New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) look for a loose puck during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

If timed correctly, the New York Islanders could win the offseason and send a message to the rest of the league.

While the Islanders don’t have any unrestricted free agents, they’re still poised to have a hectic summer.

Two articles — John Tavares’ extension talks and the team’s uncertain future at Barclays Center — will have Garth Snow and the Isles’ owners bustling well beyond their bedtimes. If they time the negotiations correctly, they can send a message to the rest of the league that they’re not messing around.

Tavares, 26, has been dubbed by many as the “Face of the Franchise.” He’s been the team’s premier talent since getting selected first overall in the 2009 Draft, and although the Toronto media wants to suggest otherwise, he’s seemingly poised to start talks on a contract extension “as soon as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, reports have recently surfaced that the Isles are seeking a new arena. Both sides are irate with the current situation, so it seems increasingly likely that the they’ll land at either Belmont Park or the area adjacent to Citi Field (although the former, which is slated to submit a “request for proposal,” seems more likely).

If the Isles broadcast Tavares’ extension and the team’s future on the same day, they can send a message to the rest of the league that not only are they not messing around, but that they’re ushering in a new — hopefully more successful — era of Islanders hockey.


As he enters his sophomore season, Doug Weight has learned what he believes to be the keys to his team’s success. It all starts with hiring the right assistant coaches — assistant coaches who are going to change “the atmosphere on the bench,” writes Andy Graziano of SNY. Specifically, Weight has been seeking former NHL players to solidify his staff. He’s already hired former teammate Luke Richardson to a post, and is poised to add Kelly Buchberger and Scott Gomez next month.

Although the Isles’ blueline was less-than-ideal in 2016-17, newly minted assistant coach Luke Richardson isn’t losing hope just yet. In an interview with’s Cory Wright, Richardson spoke about his expectations for the upcoming season. Hidden in these conversations was this tidbit: “…I think to have a good nucleus of young defensemen — which the Islanders have a whole bunch of them — underneath these guys it’s a huge help to the whole organization, but especially the coaching staff.”

Mathew Barzal’s season came to a close with a 2-1 loss to the Saint Johns Sea Dogs on Tuesday evening, but he’s looking forward to the future (and has no reason to hang his head): “I’d played exhibition games and I’d been through training camp, but there’s nothing like playing in a regular-season NHL game,” he said. “That’s something that I’m working hard to experience again.”

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.