No. 78: New York Islanders

2013 Ultimate Standings

Updated: September 23, 2013, 12:32 PM ET
By Doug Mittler | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 119
Title track: 64
Ownership: 107
Coaching: 80
Players: 34
Fan relations: 69
Affordability: 43
Stadium Experience 118
Bang for the Buck 73

A rank of 118 in stadium experience is normally nothing to brag about -- except when you're the Islanders. This marks the first time in five years the team didn't rank dead last (122nd) in that category. To the excitement of fans, the crumbling and cramped Nassau Coliseum is on its way out, at least as a full-time home. Beginning with the 2015-16 season -- maybe sooner -- the Islanders will call the Barclays Center in Brooklyn their primary residence. "Brooklyn isn't Nassau County, but it isn't Kansas City," comments Frank on IslandersPointBlank.com. "This will take some adjusting to, but it will be for the best."

Just as Isles fans prepare to commute from suburbs to city, the team, led by Hart Trophy finalist John Tavares, is getting more popular. Thanks to the their first playoff appearance in six years -- a hard-fought, six-game set with the Penguins that had the Coliseum rocking -- the Isles surged 67 points in our players category from last year. And perhaps because Long Islanders are used to things being expensive, the club somehow moved up 53 points in affordability, even though the overall cost per season went up 28.9 percent and beer prices ballooned to an NHL-high $9.50. Isles fans are clearly willing to pay, as long as the product is a good one. Add it all up and the Islanders rose 41 slots to 78th, their best overall showing since ranking 74th in 2008. How's that for back to basics?

Doug Mittler

Rumor Central

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