If everything holds as it currently is, the New York Islanders are going to be a playoff team. It’s certainly well-deserved, as they’ve been a very solid team in 2013. Some of that young talent has come through, with a mix of veteran leadership, to make them one of the league’s most surprising clubs.
But while the Islanders will, by all accounts, be a playoff team, are they a team that should be taken seriously? The answer to that question is an easy one. While they may seem like a team that will be an easy out, there’s a reason this team is in position for a berth in the postseason.
First of all, look at some of the individual talent on this roster. John Tavares should be in the mix for the Hart Trophy. Matt Moulson is an incredibly underrated offensive player. Their blue line is solid and they have an experienced goaltender in Evgeni Nabokov.
The Islanders are a top ten offensive club. They rank ninth in the league in goals per game. Defensively, they haven’t been quite as good at keeping it out, but finding rhythm on the blue line is a lot easier than finding it on offense. Their goal differential is currently hovering around even.
As far as special teams, the Islanders are ninth in the league on the power play. Their penalty kill does leave a bit to be desired, though.
This isn’t a team that lights the world on fire with their numbers. They’re not a dominant club. But they’ve been steady all year long. They’re a team that can be a serious threat if you sleep on them. They may not be ready to make a serious Stanley Cup run this year, but that doesn’t mean that they should automatically be dismissed as a contender. They’ll make some noise next month.