The Islanders belong to the new East division which is comprised of former Metropolitan and Atlantic division teams. Instead of matching up with the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets in divisional games, the Isles are set to play the Bruins and Sabres. Also, they will see familiar foes including the Capitals, Devils, Flyers, Rangers, and Penguins.
Which Division Is Stronger The Metro Or East?
The overall talent in the division remains threatening. While the Bruins may be a better team than the Hurricanes, the Blue Jackets are better than the Sabres, so the trade-off has little impact on the Isles. This is because the Hurricanes were likely to finish ahead of the Isles and so are the Bruins. However, the Blue Jackets who had a legitimate shot of finishing above the Islanders are out, and Buffalo is likely to finish behind the Isles. Having a weaker team in the division will help solidify the Isles’s chances of contending in the East.
Can The Islanders Still Finish Top-Four In The East?
While the Islanders may not look like a formidable team on paper in the East, they have one of the best coaches in the league. Barry Trotz has made the Islanders a consistent, two-way team that can make the playoffs regardless of their competition. The Islanders team that recently made the Eastern Conference Finals is still in-tact. Therefore, there should be no reason to worry about the Isles playoffs hopes. Trotz and the Islanders are more than likely to finish top-four and make the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
How Does Goaltending Impact Their Situation?
The NHL has confirmed that there will be a shortened-season in which there are fifty-six games. Since multiple games will be played in a short span of time, it is very important to have two reliable goalies. The Islanders are set in net. Their starting goaltender, Semyon Varlamov, proved himself in the most-recent playoffs as he was crucial in the teams’ success. He managed to always keep the Islanders in games. If he can continue to perform this way throughout the season, the Isles are in a good spot. Also, Ilya Sorokin is certain to make an impact in the net for Long Island. Over the summer, he signed an entry-level contract meaning he is set to perform at the NHL level. He will likely be the back-up to Varlomav, but he can very easily earn the starting job if he succeeds right out of the gate.
The Islanders have a great chance at making the playoffs. Their goaltending tandem, head coach, and recent play are good signs of success to come. Despite being in the East division, the Islanders can and will contend this season. It should be a relief that the Hurricanes and Islanders will not match-up for the Islanders management and fans. Expect good things from Long Island in the 2021 shortened season.