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Islanders Regress After Trade Deadline

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Islanders Regress After Trade Deadline

The Islanders shocked many at the start of the season, but the team has since taken a step back. (Courtesy of Flickr)

The Islanders shocked many at the start of the season, but the team has since taken a step back. (Courtesy of Flickr)

The Islanders shocked many at the start of the season, but the team has since taken a step back. (Courtesy of Flickr)

The Islanders shocked many at the start of the season, but the team has since taken a step back. (Courtesy of Flickr)


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By Chris Hennessy

R.I.P. to the era of the First Place New York Islanders, Jan. 18 through March 1, 2019. What a time it was. Now the Islanders are back to their losing ways that I, along with every Islander fan in the world, have become so used to. I wrote and said that the run they were on was unsustainable and knew that they were not as talented as Washington and Pittsburgh, but it was nice to think for a little while that they were. But I just wrote about how they were going to the playoffs, what went wrong? Come on this terrible, awful, no-good journey with me, won’t you?

It started on Feb. 25, the trade deadline. New General Manager Lou Lamoriello failed epically by making zero moves at the deadline. Multiple top-six goal scoring wingers changed hands, and that is exactly the kind of player that the Islanders need.

Ever since the trade deadline, the Islanders have won three games: John Tavares’ return and two games against lowly Ottawa. They have been outscored 25-21 in those seven games (through Saturday’s game) and have been held under two goals in four of the games. Brutal. They cannot buy a goal right now. Josh Ho-Sang continues to waste away in the AHL while the talent-lacking roster employs the likes of Andrew Ladd, Tom Kühnhackl and Leo Komarov.

Additionally, the goaltending has come back down to Earth. Robin Lehner and Thomas Griess have still been great, but they have fallen off the astronomical pace that they were at in the early stages of the season. The defense in front of them has not helped, however. The Johnny Boychuck – Nick Leddy pairing was brutal in the game on March 3 against Philadelphia and was promptly spilt up a few days later. However, Devon Toews joined Johnny Boychuck for another rough game on the March 9 against those same Flyers.

Boychuck is a seasoned veteran, and his legs are starting to give out late in the season. The Islanders currently have seven healthy defensemen with Thomas Hickey back from injury, and I would not be opposed to Hickey replacing Boychuck for a few games while he rests. This has been Boychuck’s best season in a while, but he needs a breather, and he should get it now as opposed to after the season.

As for the rest of the season, the Islanders have big games against Boston, Winnipeg, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington left before the end of the regular season without a lot of time off between games. The Isles needed to use the two games against Ottawa last week as ‘get-well games, but of course they did not.

They don’t have much time to get everything figured out, but they need to figure it out because they might fall out of the playoffs. They are currently in second place, but Carolina, Pittsburgh and Columbus all can pick up games and jump over the Islanders in the standings. I don’t think it will happen, mostly because it would be a collapse for the ages, but it is certainly possible.

The Islanders have provided their fans with few good moments in their recent history, but a Metropolitan Division championship would have been one of them for sure. Oh well. The Islanders stink.

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Islanders Regress After Trade Deadline