The New York Islanders enter the 2023/24 season looking to get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and go further than the first round.
The Islanders looked to enter a new era last season after opening a brand new arena and made a head coaching change.
New York fans expect to be in the postseason at the very least, so missing it entirely in 2021-22 was not acceptable. After a rather quiet offseason, there are fans both optimistic and concerned about the season ahead.
|What||NHL Season 2023/24|
|Where||USA and Canada|
|When||October 10 2023 - June 2024|
|How to watch||ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu, TNT and ABC|
|Odds||TOR Maple Leafs +800, COL Avalanche +850, EDM Oilers +900, NJ Devils +1000, CAR Hurricanes +1000|
As mentioned, the Islanders were able to make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it was far from their dynasty of the early 80’s.
They won four straight Stanley Cups to begin that decade, but last year’s postseason lasted just six games. After going 42-31-9, they earned the top Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
That matched them up with the Metro Division-winning Carolina Hurricanes, who eliminated New York in six games.
Given their quiet offseason, much of the same should be expected from the Islanders. That expectation can be summarized in one word - defense.
They’ve been the epitome of a defensive-minded team, primarily thanks to goaltender Ilya Sorokin. He’s consistently in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy awarded to the NHL’s best goalie, and if not for the historic season of the Boston Bruins, likely would have been the frontrunner last season but instead finished second.
His .924 save percentage was the third-best among regular starting goaltenders, and he hasn’t finished with a save percentage worse than that since his rookie year.
The defense in front of him is solid but sat around middle-of-the-pack in terms of shots allowed per game. That’s another word that can describe several aspects of New York’s squad - mediocre.
They’re certainly talented with skaters like Mathew Barzal and their midseason acquisition of Bo Horvat last season. The former Vancouver Canucks Captain is a strong addition, but the Islanders simply lack that pure goalscorer that can take over entire shifts.
With that in mind, we expect another middle-of-the-road finish for New York where they don’t compete for the Metro Division title, but are able to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a Wild Card.
The Islanders have rather long odds to win the Stanley Cup at +5000, and the same can be said about the Eastern Conference, as they had +2500 odds to do so.
In terms of the Metro Division, they come with a +1000 price, and their over/under for total points is set at 91.5.
New coach Lane Lambert is +2500 to win the Jack Adams Award honoring the league's top head coach.
Sorokin has the joint-shortest odds at +600 to win the Vezina Trophy honoring the league's top goaltender, the same odds as Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets, and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers.
Defenseman Noah Dobson is +10000 to win the Norris Trophy for the league's top defenseman
The Islanders open the 2023-24 season with three straight home games and in eight of their first 11. They get their rematch against the Carolina Hurricanes early on - Nov. 4 - to try and get their revenge after they eliminated them from the postseason last year.
They’ll face the defending Stanley Cup-champion Vegas Golden Knights for the first time on January 23, but we know most Islanders fans are most concerned with the Battle for New York.
The first game against the New York Rangers doesn’t come until February 18, which will be at home. The next one will be on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), with the final two coming within a three-game span in mid-April. New York’s season closes out with a divisional rivalry game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Islanders transitioned away from Barry Trotz after he led the team from 2018-2022, and it’s now Lane Lambert in charge. After Lambert's first season with the team, he had a .567 win percentage, just barely under that of Trotz’s tenure.
Lambert had been an assistant coach with multiple NHL franchises before he was named Islanders head coach.