Like all of 2020, the Islanders season was almost one to forget. Going into the regular season pause in mid-march, the club was sitting on the outside of the playoffs looking in, with a record of 35-23-10, 80 points, and one point out of a wild card spot to lock up their third playoff appearance in five seasons. Needless to say, this season was almost not the one Islander fans were expecting.
With the NHL’s revised Stanley Cup Playoff plan for the COVID-impacted postseason, the Islanders would find their way into the playoffs as the 7 seed for the Eastern Conference play-in bracket, to play the 10 seeded Florida Panthers.Florida and New York are no strangers to each other in playoff competition, with the two clubs facing off in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, where the Islanders emerged as the victors in a 4-2 series.
Fast forward, and the Panthers have an opportunity for redemption with their newly acquired goaltender and Vezina trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. Needless to say, that didn’t work out too well, as the Islanders would take that series 3-1.
In series with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Islanders found themselves in hot water, nearly blowing a 3-1 lead. But on the back of pending UFA Thomas Greiss, the Islanders prevailed, advancing to their first appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals since 1993, a moment Islanders fans across the world have been waiting for a long, long time to see. They would unfortunately fall short, 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
So the real question for the Islanders now…………….what’s next?
The answer: Nobody knows. Except Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz, that is.
When you speak to Islanders fans, it’s usually a common agreement that that team is in need of a pure goal scorer, which showed in their series with the Lightning. The Islanders finished the regular season with 192 goals, good for 21st in the entire NHL. so, yes. This team needs a goal scorer. Bad.
Like, real bad.
With the NHL Draft only a little over a week away, and free agency officially opening on October 9th, it will be interesting to see what the tandem of Lamoriello and Trotz have up their sleeves.