The New York Islanders took a steady approach to building their roster as they missed the playoffs for 3 straight seasons to start the GVFHL, but now season four is looking to be the start of a bright future for New York as they look to embark on their first playoff appearance. The real catalyst for the franchise was trading Vladamir Tarasenko for Connor McDavid before McDavid even stepped into the NHL. Adding the franchise centerman, who plays in all game situations for New York, was the biggest move this team has made. They took a bit of a step back last year, adding players around McDavid like Corey Perry and Matthieu Perreault before the team was really ready to compete, which cost them some youth. This year though, they are ready to take on the contenders.
In goal, Carter Hutton has been outstanding. Top 5 in goals against average, he has been a big reason why this team is where they are. On defense, the core has remained the same, but adding Polak and Forbort brought a strong defensive and physical presence along with Jones, Yandle, Girardi, and Schultz, to give the Islanders a solid group to help Hutton out and move the puck up the ice.
Connor McDavid has a slim lead on the Art Ross Trophy and has been stellar all season. On the second line, Matt Barzal has been impressive and is close to locking up the Calder Trophy with 70 points in 59 games. In a recent trade, the Isles acquired Jason Zucker and Jesper Fast which added more speed, offense, and defensive play to the lineup. A very deep team, the Islanders boast skilled players on all 4 lines.
Despite being 4th in the Conference, the Islanders look like a Stanley Cup favourite. They have the top scorer in the league, the top rookie scorer, a goalie among the top 5 in goals against average, and the second best power play and penalty kill in the league. This team make make some noise come playoff time.