Islanders final grades
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesThe Islanders didn't have much to celebrate this season.
Isles' final report card
It’s going to become very hard for owner Charles Wang and general manager Garth Snow to continue preaching a rebuild with the team missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season. The problems start at the top with the beleaguered franchise and the team has done little to foster a winning culture or nurture development. As a result, the team remains mired in the bottom of the standings once again as it creeps closer toward obscurity.
Let’s give credit where it is due: John Tavares took his game to a new level in a terrific third season. Matt Moulson continues to silence critics with a phenomenal effort -- his third straight season of thirty goals or more. And PA Parenteau set himself up for a big payday with a career-high 67 points. But that trio constitutes one line and the Isles need much, much more to be competitive on a nightly basis.
The development of young blue-liner Travis Hamonic has to be one of the brightest spots during a bleak season. The 21-year-old Winnipeg native flourished on the blue line, and along with partner Andrew MacDonald, emerged as one of the team’s young leaders. But the team is still in dire need of another top-four defenseman to help out captain Mark Streit. Only three teams gave up more goals against per game.
The Islanders boasted a pretty good power-play unit this season with key contributions from skilled forwards Tavares and Parenteau.
What a stunning turnaround for Evgeni Nabokov. The guy goes from Public Enemy No. 1 on Long Island after famously spurning the team that claimed him off waivers last January to the starting goaltender.
It wouldn’t be fair to saddle coach Jack Capuano with all the culpability of the team’s travails, but expect him to have a shorter leash at the start of next season. The former Bridgeport coach has passion in abundance but if the Isles suffer another abysmal start, the team needs to find someone with more experience and cache.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
After spending two seasons as the Islanders beat writer for Newsday, Katie Strang joined ESPN New York to cover the Rangers, Isles and Devils. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.