I’m not usually one to rate the effectiveness of a hockey team over the course of a few weeks. It’s a long season, and teams deal with injuries, winning streaks, and losing streaks. The halfway point of a season, however, is usually a pretty good indicator of how good a team really is.
For the New York Islanders, that point has passed. The 4-0 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday was actually the teams 42nd game. It’s fair to ask, are they any different then they were last season?
2014-2015 full season:
101 points 3rd in the Metro, 5th in the Eastern Conference
252 goals for
230 goals against
Through 42 games in 2015-2016:
49 points – 3rd in the Metro, 6th in the Eastern Conference
114 goals for
107 goals against
So, not as good a record, A little lower in the standings, albeit with more teams nipping right at their heels. Scoring fewer goals, but giving up slightly fewer goals as well.
All of this to say, this team is either going to get edged out for a playoff spot, or lose in the first round again. That seems to be the ceiling, and there has been no improvement over last season at all. For a young, supposedly developing, team to not see any growth season to season, is not a good sign. It’s a sign that something isn’t right. Young guys are not developing, coaching is not helping them improve, and personnel decisions have failed to make a dent. As I’ve said before, the team gambled on internal improvement, and it didn’t happen.
Oh you know what else pales in comparison to last season? John Tavares had 86 points last season. He has 29 half way through this one. We can talk about who he is playing with, illness, whatever, but it’s the same team that he played with last year. His season also points at something being wrong.
Is it Brooklyn? I know a lot of Isles fans feel very negatively about the move, but I don’t think it’s that either. This was a team that has seen steady improvement over the last two seasons, suddenly not improving. Clearly, it’s time to change something in order to get this team to the next step. If it’s not done this season, it may be done by the new ownership group in the off season.