New York Islanders Are All But Out Of The Playoff Race

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John Tavares
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 18: New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) skates in the 1st period of the NHL game between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning on November 18, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Garth Snow and the New York Islanders made zero significant moves during the NHL trade deadline. Leaving many Islanders fans shaking their collective head and causing one fan to start a GoFundMe site to take donations for “Snow Must Go” billboards. Two of those billboards now stand on Long Island. The action gave rise to a fan of the Ottawa Senators in starting a “Melnyk Must Go” billboard campaign. Seems like the Islanders are not the only team whose fans are disappointed with management.

New York Islanders Falling Further Behind in Stanley Cup Playoff Race

Snow Plays To A Tough Fanbase In A Tough Market

That said the Islanders have seen the team win exactly one playoff series in his 12-year tenure. Not a great return for a general manager of an NHL team. Especially for a general manager in the New York market. The market already has the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils vying for the casual fan. Both of these teams have been more successful than the Islanders for the past 20 years. The fans of each team are loyal to the cause and are not swayed, regardless of the trials and tribulations of the team on the ice. For many of the Islanders fans, the lack of movement for yet another trade deadline has driven them over the edge. But, has Snow been that bad or is this season a fluke? Let’s take a look at his successes, failures, and questions in 2017 and then gauge the likelihood that the team makes the playoffs this season.

The Signing Of John Tavares

This question looms over the franchise like a pending cyclone. Tavares has kept the air in front of the cyclone calm and cool. He says all of the right things in every interview and gives the impression that he would like to remain an Islander for life. He is either pulling an A-Rod move, meaning that he is duping the fans to follow the money to another team, or he is the ultimate team leader. Either way, he has given the Islanders prime career years and has been a bargain for the Islanders during that time. There are items that fell into place during the season that might entice him to stay, the Belmont Deal, the recent signing of Josh Bailey, bringing former Team Canada linemate Jordan Eberle and the signing of rookie sensation Mathew Barzal. Are they enough to keep him here? Looks like the answer to that question will come between now and July 1.

The Islanders Losing Despite Being Top Five In NHL Goals For

There can be no doubt that the team that Snow drafted, traded and dealt for can score a metric ton of goals. The team hovers around the top five in goals scored. Currently at sixth and has done so for the majority of the season. At one point in December, shortly before the Islanders began a bad stretch, the team had three players in the top five of total goals and total points. Unfortunately, they are currently dead last in goals against.  Rookie and Calder Trophy candidate Barzal can produce goals and assists nearly every game. He racked up three 5-point games this season, a feat that has not been done in a century. Following captain Tavares’ lead, he is unconcerned with records and looks to win more often. Despite that, wins have been hard to come by of late. The team regularly blows multi-goal leads and has only won four of 12 games in February. They ended the month with a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

Playoff Hopes Dwindling

With each mounting loss, the Islanders and their fans watch their hopes of making the playoffs go out the door. This season Snow assembled an offensive team from the blue line forward. Barzal, Eberle, Bailey, Anders Lee and Tavares led the way with goals this year but with little help from the defensemen and injuries to the defensive corps, a finish like this seemed inevitable. Since the early season injury to Nikolai Kulemin and Shane Prince the Islanders have seen injuries to Calvin de Haan, after coming back from a previous injury he is now out for the season. Scott Mayfield has been out since early February with a lower-body injury and is likely to return in March. Given the situation with the Islanders, this is too little, too late to make a playoff push this season. Will Snow be around to see the signing of Tavares? Time will tell.

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