The New York Islanders close what started as a cautiously optimistic season ends outside of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And just like that, the New York Islanders bid farewell to 2017-18, a season that started as optimistically as it ended disappointingly.
A 4-3 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings gave John Tavares his possible last game-winning goal with the Islanders. Anders Lee scored his 40th goal of the season, which gave the team the most life they’ve had in weeks.
Disappointment. Frustration. Guilt. The Islanders have taken two steps back in the last two seasons after winning their first playoff series in 23 years just two years back. Frustration with Garth Snow and company has boiled to an all-time high.
The Isles will miss the postseason with a roster that includes Tavares and Mathew Barzal, who both managed to crack at least 80 points this season (Tavares: 37-47-84, Barzal: 22-63-85). Anthony Beauvillier and his 30-goal scoring pace since his recall in January.
There was plenty of talent, enough that the results should have been drastically different.
The Islanders were 20-13-4 until the wheels flew off the wagon in 2018, seeing the team win just 15 games through the new year and fall firmly out of contention by the trade deadline.
Let the Offseason Begin
With no hockey left to play, the questions will start flooding in. Owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin have been radio-silent since the Belmont Arena confirmation but the rumblings around the organization are that they’re preparing a statement in the coming weeks.
In terms of Tavares and contract negotiations, Larry Brooks of the New York Post dug up this new tidbit in the latest of the contract-extension saga:
“I’m not trying to look at it as the end because obviously that hasn’t been determined,” Tavares said. “I’ve always wanted it to work out and stay, so that’s still what I hope transpires. But obviously that will come in the time ahead.”
Contradicting quotes have run rampant in general, with most everyone else weighing in on his future before the captain. Denis Potvin gave a grim report while this quote feels far more optimistic, but it continues to sound like leaving isn’t Tavares’ number-one plan, just a welcome option.
To add insult to injury, their crosstown rivals, the New York Rangers, announced the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault right after the Rangers closed their season with a 5-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
With so many variables in the air, the hard-hitting questions begin at tomorrow’s public media availability. Will the Isles have new management? Are they going to get defensive help with the exorbitant amount of cap space they’ll have? Will Tavares give any indication towards a decision on the horizon?
Most importantly, fans are anxiously anticipating some kind of announcement coming from Ledecky and the state of his “world-class” team.