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Representing New York and splitting their time during the 2018-19 season between the borough of Brooklyn and Nassau County, the New York Islanders are a team in constant pursuit of another dynastic period for their franchise. Following their inception into the NHL back in 1972, success quickly found the club. Following two miserable years, the management’s plan of growing the team through the draft began to pay off with the Isles making the playoffs in their third season. This marked the beginning of 14 straight playoff runs which would include four Stanley Cup championships.
Despite amazing regular season numbers, the first several years ended in disappointing playoff losses. However, the team prevailed and continued to pick up more talented players along the way. Head Coach Al Arbour decided in 1980 to concentrate less on the regular season record and instead shift his focus toward getting his players ready for a grueling playoff tournament. This mindset paid off immediately as the Islanders went on to win their first Stanley Cup over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Islanders had ushered in a new age of hockey dominance as they would repeat as champions again the next season, ultimately winning four Stanley Cups in a row. The dynasty eventually ended in 1984 when the Islanders lost in the finals to the Edmonton Oilers, who were about to embark on their own dynasty. After 19 straight playoff series wins, the Islanders spent the offseason without a championship title.
While competitive throughout the rest of the 1980s, the players of this once great dynasty began to go their separate ways. Eventually, the Islanders went from perennial championship contenders to the bottom of the standings. A new rebuilding project went into effect and through draft picks and trades the team began to rebound with a new core group.
Missteps in management led to many changes in coaches and general manager which brought the team further into a downward spiral. A completely dysfunctional franchise, the Islanders even went through scandals involving the sale of the team. However, even after the eventual sale of the team, continued mistakes with trades and draft picks plagued the Islanders.
Islanders management is committed making whatever changes necessary to reach the next level as a team. In the offseason, they parted ways with both GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight. The new regime for the Isles will be looking to make the playoffs and capture the first division title for the Islanders since 1988. They will do so with Barry Trotz behind the bench. Fresh off his Stanley Cup victory as the head coach of the Washington Capitals, Trotz came to New York to turn this franchise into a winner. A major setback for the club befell them in free agency as John Tavares, their captain and 5th all-time leading scorer departed for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Trotz is now also tasked with finding a new captain and figuring out the dynamics of this team without their longtime leader.
Further hopes may be on the horizon with the arrival of Mathew Barzal. His 85 point rookie season earned him the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year and has many fans excited about his future with the team. He got off to another great start in 2018-2019. Newly anointed captain Anders Lee continues to be solid for the club and the addition of Jordan Eberle gives the Isles a boost. Brock Nelson, Andrew Ladd, and Valtteri Filppula also play key roles. A new starter has emerged for the Islanders as Robin Lehner appears to have settled into the role between the pipes.
The list of great players who have played as a member of this franchise goes on forever, but the best among them include Butch Goring, John Tonelli, Pat LaFontaine, Bob Bourne, Brent Sutter, Clark Gillies, Billy Smith, Bobby Nystrom, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, John Tavares, and Denis Potvin. Additional information about the New York Islanders can be found by clicking here.