The Islanders are finally off to an amazing start, and I could not have asked for something better to write about for the final issue of the semester.
The Islanders are 16-9-2. I repeat, 16-9-2. That’s one game out of first place in the Metropolitan division. Last season the Islanders were 10-10-5 up to Dec. 7. This is a nine point improvement from last season, but nine points in a highly competitive Metropolitan division makes a big difference.
Not only are the Islanders not struggling to stay above .500 this season, the team is producing. The deadly first line of John Tavares, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey have produced a combined 90 points. Tavares leads the team in goals (17), and Bailey leads the team in assists (26).
The other lines have produced as well. Matthew Barzal is off to a stellar start. The Islanders rookie is easily one of the Calder Trophy favorites due to his near point per game pace. He has seven goals and 19 assists, with nine of those points coming on the power play.
Going into the season, I thought he was going to be thrown around between the Islanders and the minor leagues, but he’s been fast and can see the ice really well. He’s 20 years old and is playing close to elite status already.
Jordan Eberle has adapted well to his new team after facing the brutal Edmonton Oilers media for the past seven seasons. The former 75 point scorer has put up 20 points in 27 games thus far and looks to be well on pace for 50-plus points.
Nick Leddy has been an offensive force as of late. He’s taken his game to an all new level, with 23 points in 27 games. He should be considered for Norris Trophy talks with his all-around play on the ice.
The Islanders also put in a bid to build an arena in Belmont in recent months. They have been so invested in getting the bid and it has been narrowed down to the Isles and New York City FC. There was a rumor released Wednesday, Dec. 6 that the Islanders may be the favored bidder for Belmont. Not only will this help the team establish a long-term future home, but may also secure the long-term future of Tavares with the Islanders.
Speaking for Islanders fans, I want nothing more than this rumor to be true. The New York Islanders deserve to play at Belmont. Having a new state of the art arena will allow the them to spend to the cap. But for the time being, it’s still fair competition between the New York Islanders and NYCFC. #Hopefully.
It’s something that I stress in every column, but every move management makes this season is crucial in keeping their captain, because he is a strong offensive playmaker and has years of chemistry with most of the players on the team. It would be a huge loss if Tavares signed with another team in free agency.
Hopefully the Islanders will keep up their offensive success and continue to rise to the top of the Metropolitan division. Stay tuned for more Islanders news in the new year.