After spending months of extensive research, by watching countless hours of game tape and interviewing potential draft prospects along with their respective junior hockey league coaches, it is my pleasure - here on Islanders Point Blank - to file the first annual IPB’s 2012 NHL Mock Draft.


The 2012 NHL Entry Draft – the 50th edition – will be held on June 22-23, emanating from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.


1. Edmonton – Nail Yakupov, RW, Sarnia (OHL) – The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Yakupov has been the consensus top overall choice since the first draft rankings were announced back in September. Nine months later, no other draft-eligible prospect has made the 18-year-old winger even break a sweat. By winning the draft lottery for a third straight season, becoming the first team since the 1989-91 Quebec Nordiques to select first overall three consecutive years, the Oilers hold all the cards. Yet, despite the fact that its most glaring need is on the blue line, Yakupov’s overall skill-set might just be too much to bypass. Accepting feeds from 2011 first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will give older Oilers fans the opportunity to relive their youth, as they envision Mark Messier feeding Wayne Gretzky back when the team won four Stanley Cups in five seasons.


2. Columbus – Filip Forsberg, LW, Leksands IF (SWE) – Is this the day that the Blue Jackets finally send seven-time, 30-goal scorer Rick Nash packing? If so, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Forsberg would fill a glaring need. Drawing comparisons to Anaheim’s Corey Perry, the 17-year-old Forsberg would be a tremendous complement to 2010 first round selection Ryan Johansen. Yet, despite the fact that his stock has grown since arriving last week at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto, all indications are that he will return to his junior team in Sweden for the 2012-13 campaign.


3. Montreal – Alex Galchenyuk, C, Sarnia (OHL) – Despite only dressing for two regular season games this past season – after suffering a torn ACL - the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Galchenyuk returned to the Sting postseason line-up without missing a beat. The Wisconsin-born, Belarusian-raised center has fully recovered from his injury. He took part in all the physical tests at the NHL Scouting Combine. Scouts marvel at his playmaking abilities, believing that it was he who elevated line-mate Yakupov’s overall play at Sarnia. Canadiens fans should be excited at the prospects of 18-year-old Galchenyuk and 23-year-old winger Max Pacioretty playing off one another, in hopes of of reviving an offense that ranked 20th in the league in goals scored.


4. ISLANDERS – Ryan Murray, D, Everett (WHL) – Filling an immediate need, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Murray, who grew up patterning his game after former New Jersey Devils defenseman and future Hall-of-Famer Scott Niedermayer, would be a steadying force to a blue line that only returns three players – Mark Streit, Travis Hamonic and Andrew McDonald – from its 2011-12 roster. The 18-year-old also played admirably for Team Canada at the recent World Championships, filling in for an injured Marc Methot. He drew rave reviews from Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith. The most NHL-ready defenseman would be given every opportunity to win an opening night roster spot on Long Island.


5. Toronto – Radek Faksa, C, Kitchener (OHL) – In his first season playing on North American soil, Faksa stepped into the shadows left behind by former Kitchener captain and current Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog and excelled. Faksa collected 67 points – 29 goals and 38 assists – in 62 games. Ranked 17th in TSN Craig Button’s latest prospect rankings, Faksa’s meteoric rise up the draft boards draws similarities to that of Ryan Strome, who was selected fifth overall by the Islanders in the 2011 draft after a late surge up the draft rankings. The 18-year-old Faksa, who is also able to slide over to the wing, draws comparisons to current Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski.


6. Anaheim – Matthew Dumba, D, Red Deer (WHL) – The six-foot, 185-pound Dumba is the prototypical high-risk, high reward selection. Not afraid of throwing his body around, Dumba has drawn comparisons to Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf, despite giving up three inches and 30 pounds to the 27-year-old Leaf. As veteran defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky is considered a question mark to return to the Ducks lineup for the 2012-13 campaign, the 17-year-old Dumba – with a solid training camp – could find his way onto the Ducks’ opening night line-up to play alongside fellow youngsters Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa.


7. Minnesota – Jacob Trouba, D, USNTDP (USHL) – Born in neighboring Rochester, Minnesota, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Trouba showcased his talents by playing for the U.S. National Training Development Program in Ann Arbor. A stay-at-home physical defenseman in the mold of Chris Pronger, Trouba has the make-up fit for the cold winter nights in Minneapolis, St. Paul. Despite the fact that Trouba plans to attend the University of Michigan in the fall, the Wild – with patience - might be getting the draft’s top-overall defenseman in the long run.


8. Carolina – Mikhail Grigorenko, C/RW, Quebec (QMJHL) – The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Grigorenko recorded 85 points – 40 goals and 45 assists – playing for Patrick Roy and the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Once looked at as a sure-bet, top-five overall pick, Grigorenko’s work ethic has come into question. Still, at this point of the draft, the offensively-challenged Hurricanes - who still have their eyes set on reuniting Eric Staal with his brother Jordan in a potential offseason trade with the Penguins - would be foolish to let an Evgeni Malkin-clone slip through its fingertips.


9. Winnipeg – Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton (WHL) – The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Reinhart might be the most imposing physical defenseman to be selected in the entire draft. Yet, having just completed his second full season in Edmonton, many still question whether the son of former NHL defenseman Paul Reinhart is still yet too raw to play on the NHL scene next season. Whether it has to wait an extra season or two, envision the 18-year-oldReinhart – a Shea Weber-type defenseman – clearing bodies in front of a raucous crowd at MTS Centre. He and 2008 first round pick Zach Bogosian could form a beautiful partnership.


10. Tampa Bay – Olli Maatta, D, London (OHL) – The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Maatta - just 17 years old - played his best hockey at the most opportune time for both the Knights and his personal draft standing. After collecting a respectable 32 points – five goals and 27 assists – in his first season outside of Finland, Maatta – the first overall pick in the 2011 CHL Import Draft – would became a playoff sensation playing alongside Jarrod Tinordi – a 2010 first round selection by Montreal. In 19 games, Maatta scored six goals and registered 17 assists, as he helped the Knights capture the 2012 OHL Championship Title. Maatta, who has drawn comparisons with impending UFA Ryan Suter has his sights set on playing in the NHL in the fall. He and 2009 second overall selection Victor Hedman could be a deadly duo in the Sunshine State.


11. Washington (from Colorado) – Morgan Rielly, D, Moose Jaw (WHL) – With both offensive defensemen Mike Green (RFA) and Dennis Wideman (UFA) expecting to test the free agent waters, a huge gap is left on the Capitals blue line. As John Carlson continues to mature into a bona-fide top pairing defenseman, the void on the power play – without Green or Wideman – would be glaring. Morgan Rielly, a 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman, might just be what the doctor ordered. Despite missing 50 games last season with a knee injury, the 18-year-old Rielly – who has drawn comparisons to Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson - is an offensive dynamo from the blue line. Considered by many the top offensive defenseman in the entire draft, Rielly might need some fine tuning back in Moose Jaw, but he isn’t long for an NHL invite.


12. Buffalo – Teuvo Teravainen, LW, Jokerit (Finland) – While the team continues to pursue Jordan Staal from Pittsburgh in a offseason trade, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Teravainen would be no consolation prize to a team in dire need of scoring punch. Having played the past four seasons in his native Finland, the 17-year-old Teravainen – who has been compared to Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky - would follow in the footsteps of fellow diminutive forwards Nathan Gerbe (5-foot-5) and Tyler Ennis (5-foot-9) on a journey to upstate New York. He is a project with top-six upside and 30-goal potential.


13. Dallas – Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa (OHL) – The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Ceci more than doubled his previous two seasons’ point total – 46 - with a 60-point campaign in 64 games for the 2011-12 Ottawa 67’s. Finishing second to Niagara’s Dougie Hamilton (72) in OHL scoring for a defenseman, also helped him elevate his overall draft status. A projected top-four NHL defenseman, Ceci would provide immediate depth on an aging Stars blue line, as both Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray’s NHL careers are winding down. The 18-year-old Ceci has drawn comparisons to Calgary’s Anton Babchuk.


14. Calgary – Matt Finn, D, Guelph (OHL) – As both Cory Sarich and Scott Hannan head into free agency in the next couple of weeks, the Calgary Flames are sure to be looking to add quality depth on their blue line. Enter 6-foot-2, 200-pound Matt Finn. When interviewed earlier this year, Finn referred to himself as a defenseman who plays “a quiet game”. Quiet to some might mean non-descript, yet to other’s Finn’s steady play could translate into a defenseman ready to embark on a 10-to-15 year NHL career. Compared to Carolina’s Tim Gleason, the 18-year-old Finn isn’t showy or flashy, yet he might be a player who could be a building block in Alberta.


15. Ottawa – Sebastian Collberg, RW, Frolunda HC (Sweden) – No better introduction to the NHL game than learning from fellow countrymen Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Collberg possesses a deadly snap shot. Compared to Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri, the 18-year-old Collberg could use another year or two of development time in Sweden. Yet, when ready, he should see 2011 first round pick and fellow countryman Mika Zibanejad on his line.


16. Washington – Brendan Gaunce, C, Belleville (OHL) – Mature beyond his years, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Gaunce was named assistant captain of his OHL team at just 17 years old. Learning from older brother Cameron – a Colorado Avalanche draft pick – who himself played alongside Steven Stamkos and Michael Del Zotto, back in their school-boy days in Markham, Ontario, Brendan elevated his play in his second OHL season, collecting 68 points in 68 games. With hopes of transitioning their play from the frustrations that impending UFA Alexander Semin brought to them on a nightly basis, the Capitals need not worry about Gaunce – a future NHL captain – who will bring his proverbial lunch pail to the office and play with maximum intensity.


17. San Jose – Slater Koekkoek, D, Peterborough (OHL) – Coming off a season-ending shoulder injury, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Koekkoek could be the type of jewel that San Jose is looking for. After suffering through another early playoff exit, transitioning a hungry Koekkoek into a veteran lineup might be the juice that this organization is needed. Learning from perennial all-stars Dan Boyle and Brent Burns could help ease Koekkoek’s transition onto the NHL scene. Compared to Vancouver’s Alexander Edler, the 18-year-old Koekkoek was recently cleared by medical doctors at the NHL Scouting Combine with full bill of health.


18. Chicago – Tom Wilson, RW, Plymouth (OHL) – Once the Windy City takes a first glance at the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Tom Wilson, they will instantly fall in love. Blue collar by nature, the 18-year-old Wilson could be the spark that this organization – frustrated by a first-round exit to Phoenix – needs. He is willing and able to engage physically. One should expect Vince Vaughn to don Wilson’s sweater just days after he steps foot on the United Center ice. Wilson draws comparisons to Boston’s Milan Lucic.


19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit) – Derrick Pouliot, D, Portland (WHL) – Needing much-needed depth on the blue line, the six-foot, 190-pound Pouliot is another one of those steady defensemen destined for a long and productive NHL career. Playing against the likes of Dumba, Rielly, Reinhart and Murray in defensive-laden Western Hockey League has matured Pouliot to the player that he is today. Finishing fourth amongst WHL defenders in points scored, the 18-year-old Pouliot couldn’t ask for two better mentors to hone his game than Lightning defensemen Eric Brewer and Mattias Ohlund.


20. Philadelphia – Brady Skjei, D, USDP (USHL) – Having already committed to the University of Minnesota, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Skjei provides the Flyers organization a presence on the back end. As defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger are fully aware that their best years are behind them, the 18-year-old Skjei could be that big, physical defenseman that should help the likes of Niklas Grossmann and Braydon Coburn in the future. Yet, patience is a virtue. Don’t expect him to don a Flyers sweater for at least three seasons.


21. Buffalo (from Nashville) - Zemgus Girgensons, C, Dubuque (USHL) – Committed to the University of Vermont in the fall, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Girgensons possesses a skill-set that have many scouts comparing him to Chicago’s Jonathon Toews. A native of Latvia, Girgensons has honed his skills stateside, playing for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. In his two seasons in Dubuque, Girgensons has collected 104 points in 100 games. The 18-year-old Girgensons is projected to be a top-six forward on the pro level, and could provide the Sabres some desperately needed scoring punch, come 2014.


22. Pittsburgh – Tomas Hertl, LW, Slavia (CZE) – Having selected Jaromir Jagr fifth overall back in the 1990 NHL Draft, the Penguins are definitely not shy in plucking young talent from overseas. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Hertl – who has drawn comparisons to Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal - plays a strong two-way game, and projects as a top-six forward on the NHL level. Having just completed his first full season playing for Slavia Praha HC, one would expect the Penguins to allow Hertl to develop even more, until ready.


23. Florida – Henrik Samuelsson, C/RW, Edmonton (WHL) – Son of former Pittsburgh Penguins Ulf Samuelsson, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Samuelsson transitioned quite well to the North American game this past season. While playing 28 games for head coach Derek Laxdal and the Edmonton Oil Kings, Samuelsson scored seven goals and added 16 assists. He also racked up 42 penalty minutes, much to his father’s approval. In 17 playoff games, Samuelsson raised his play, scoring four goals and adding 10 assists, as he helped the Oil Kings capture the 2012 WHL Championship Title. For the Panthers, Samuelsson’s frame would be a welcoming addition. The 18-year-old has drawn comparisons to Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf.


24. Boston – Malcolm Subban, G, Belleville (OHL) – Brother of Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban – a pest to Bruins nation – Malcolm, 18, is more mild mannered that his older sibling. Subban also plays between the pipes, and has the athleticism to be a franchise goaltender. With word that Bruins net-minder Tim Thomas is unsure whether he wants to play in the 2012-13 season, the Bruins might be ready to groom a potential franchise-building goaltender. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Subban, whom scouts compare favorably to Canadiens net-minder Carey Price, posted a 2.50 GAA in 39 games played.


25. St. Louis – Pontus Aberg, LW, Djurgardens (SWE) – A speedster off the far wing, Aberg’s lightning quick first step has already intrigued NHL scouts. The Blues, who are always looking to add quality depth up front to complement a defense that was the stingiest in the entire NHL, allowed a league-low 1.89 goals against per game. Compared favorably to Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek, Aberg’s offensive awareness is the reason why many project him to be a top-six forward when he comes stateside. The 18-year-old is expected to play for Djurgardens in 2012-13.


26. Vancouver – Colton Sissons, RW, Kelowna (WHL) – Born in Northwest Vancouver, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Sissons would be a popular choice amongst Canucks fans. Projected to play power forward in the NHL, the 18-year-old Sissons is already mature enough to captain his WHL team at age 18. Sissons, who models his game after fellow Canuck Ryan Kesler, plays a similar two-way style alike his future mate. He should be an instant fan favorite.


27. Phoenix – Scott Laughton, C, Oshawa (OHL) – The six-foot, 170-pound Laughton models his two-way game after Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards. In his second season in Oshawa, the 18-year-old Laughton collected 53 points – 21 goals and 32 assists – in 64 games. Projected as a second line center, Laughton might need another year of seasoning to build up his body before joining his brethren in the desert. The 18-year-old has drawn comparisons to Boston’s Brad Marchand, based on his willingness to throw his body around and having the ability to be a thorn in an opponent’s side.


28. N.Y. Rangers – Stefan Matteau, LW, USNTDP (USHL) – A product of the infamous Notre Dame Academy in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound Matteau is projected as a power forward on the NHL level. Matteau, son of former Rangers playoff hero Stephane Matteau, played the past two seasons for the USNTDP juniors, where he collected 19 points in 46 games. He is scheduled to play for Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the QMJHL in the fall. The 18-year-old’s game compares favorably to current Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. Can a “Matteau, Matteau, Matteau” be in the cards for the 2015 Rangers?


29. New Jersey*(&) - Dalton Thrower, D, Saskatoon (WHL) – The six-foot, 195-pound Thrower is known for his hard-nosed, no nonsense play on the back end. Yet, this past season in Saskatoon, Thrower showed a propensity of being more of an offensive threat. He recorded 54 points – 18 goals and 36 assists – in 66 games. In his first two seasons in Saskatoon, Thrower was only able to muster 27 points in 123 games. Still, Thrower lives and dies with his intensity he brings onto the ice – night in and night out. The 18-year-old has drawn comparisons to Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa, and would be a solid replacement to Bryce Salvador, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.


30. Los Angeles* - Scott Kosmachuk, RW, Guelph (OHL) – The six-foot, 185-pound Kosmachuk collected 59 points – 30 goals and 29 assists – in his second full season at the ’O’. Known as a smooth skater with a quick release, Kosmachuk possesses a quick motor that doesn’t stop. Having an opportunity to learn from Kings captain Dustin Brown can’t help but expedite the 18-year-old’s development. He has drawn comparisons to Colorado’s Steve Downie, and should be a potential top-nine forward when he is physically ready to play in the NHL.


* - Pick to be decided between Stanley Cup Winner and Runner-up.


& - Pick might be forfeited after team circumvented the salary cap to resign Ilya Kovalchuk back in the summer of 2010.

Tags: 2012 Draft, News

Lamoriello hired by Islanders 00:00:42
Sal Licata and Jon Hein discuss the Islanders' decision to hire Lou Lamoriello as their president of hockey operations Tuesday.

Sal Licata and Jon Hein discuss the Islanders' decision to hire Lou Lamoriello as their president of hockey operations Tuesday. 


Lamoriello hired by Islanders 00:00:55
New Islanders president of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello discusses his role with the team and what impresses him about John Tavares.

The mission for Lou Lamoriello is simple: Return the Islanders to the Stanley Cup-winning powerhouse they once were.

Fulfilling that objective is going to take some time. But it was the challenge, the inevitable journey that enticed Lamoriello to leave his post with the Maple Leafs as a senior advisor, and join the Islanders as their new president of hockey operations.

"First of all, I was impressed with the conversation I had with [co-owner] Scott Malkin and his vision, his commitment, and his support to the Islanders," Lamoriello said in his first conference call with the media since the hiring. "I also look at it as a challenge to bring the Islanders back to where they were."

 

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Feb 9, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; Former New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello speaks during the number retirement ceremony for former New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Feb 9, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; Former New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello speaks during the number retirement ceremony for former New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

There could be a time when we look back and wonder why Islanders ownership declined to perform a complete executive search, why they chose not to interview the many promising candidates available to run the club's hockey operations.

But in the end, when your franchise is rotting at its core - so much so that your franchise player is not even engaging in any discussions of substance with you - what's really needed is a master surgeon. In getting Lou Lamoriello, owner Scott Malkin found the perfect person for the job.

With the arrival of Lamoriello as Islanders President of Hockey Operations, the excuse-making is over.

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The Islanders announced Tuesday that former Maple Leafs/Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has indeed joined their staff as president of hockey operations.

It was rumored by The Athletic's Arthur Staple Monday that Lamoriello was set to join the Islanders in some capacity "in a matter of days." Well, it was less than a day since that report came out that New York decided to release the news themselves.

"We are grateful to Larry Tanenbaum and the Toronto Maple Leafs for their courtesy in allowing this move," Malkin said. "We are committed to giving Lou every resource and the full support of the entire organization as we pursue our program to compete at the highest level."

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A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)
A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)

It appears the Islanders have made a move to clean up their hockey operations after all.

Former Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello is reportedly set to run the Isles' hockey operations "in a matter of days," per The Athletic's Arthur Staple. Lamoriello has been rumored to join the Islanders in some capacity next season. However, that capacity was unknown given Garth Snow's GM and president of hockey operations role. 

With Lamoriello about to join them for real, Snow's position within the organization is currently unknown. But Staple's sources say that Lamoriello will be "fully in charge."

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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

In the history of the franchise, there have been 36 instances of which that an Islanders' player has received a vote for the Hart Trophy. How many can you name? 

Test your knowledge by playing the quiz below...

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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders have reportedly begun discussion with former Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello on a position within their organization, per SportsNet's John Shannon.

The Leafs officially promoted Kyle Dubas to GM over the weekend, and according to The Athletic's Arthur Staple, Lamoriello "has no intention of staying on to perform" his advisory role he is supposed to transition to with Toronto. 

Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said that all aspects of the team's hockey operations was to be evaluated, and adding someone to their front office was in the cards.

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Daily News Live: Sports gambling 00:03:44
Eric Chemi of CNBC joins Daily News Live to discuss the legalization of sports gambling and the ramifications of this newly amended bill.

The United States Supreme Court struck down a 25-year old law on Monday that had basically prevented all states except Nevada from having legalized sports gambling. "The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," the Supreme Court announced. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own."

The ruling was an enormous immediate victory for the state of New Jersey, which could have a gambling venue open in Monmouth Park within a few weeks, according to the NY Post. There will be a press conference in Monmouth Park Monday at 1 p.m. Aside from New Jersey, The Post notes that New York and Illinois are among roughly 15 other states who have "introduced bills to legalize and regulate sports betting tied to the Supreme Court outcome." 

The NBA and MLB have been preparing for Monday's potential outcome, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who said each league had hired lobbying firms, submitted written statements, and sent executives to testify in statehouses. Windhorts added that every professional sports league had been involved, with the NBA and MLB at the forefront...

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A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)
A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)

Islanders co-owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin said they will "be evaluating all aspects of our hockey operations" last month, and since that brief statement that didn't involve press questions, no change has yet to be made. 

Garth Snow still sits in his chair with his president and general manager titles on his desk, but that could very well change if the Islanders decide to pursue Lou Lamoriello, who isn't returning as the Maple Leafs' GM next season

It was part of a contract with the Leafs that had Lamoriello in the GM role for three seasons before transitioning over to an advisory role. However, according to The Athletic's Arthur Staple, Lamoriello "has no intention of staying on to perform" in that role, per his sources. 

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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Rookie year is in the books for Islanders C Mathew Barzal, and it was certainly a success. Barzal led all rookies in points (85) last season, making him the frontrunner for the Calder Trophy. 

Unfortunately, though, the Islanders didn't make the playoffs, which means Barzal shipped back to his home of Coquitlam, British Columbia to get his offseason training regimen under way. HIs training, at first, is more of a recovery as he and Sportcore Performance owner Rob Williams focus on making sure every little muscle is in tact before starting the real workouts. 

"Nothing too heavy, a lot of core work," Barzal told New York Hockey Journal's Leo Scaglione Jr. "I'm making sure everything is moving right and working well. Your groins and little muscles take a beating all year, so I strengthen my legs again and get them back to feeling good and strong."

Tags: Mathew Barzal
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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Former Islanders GM Bill Torrey passed away at his home in Florida on Wednesday night at the age of 83.

Torrey was the GM of the Islanders from 1972 to 1992, overseeing their four straight Stanley Cup championships, and was inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995,

"Bill was the first employee, general manager and architect of one of the greatest dynasties in NHL history - the New York Islanders, winners of four straight Stanley Cups," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a press release.

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Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) skates with the puck during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) skates with the puck during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

Construction on the new Islanders arena at Belmont Park is still slated to begin as early as next spring, according to a timeline presented at a board meeting on Monday.

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A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)
A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan released a statement Monday saying Lou Lamoriello will not return as GM for next season. 

With Islanders co-owners John Ledecky and Scott Malkin looking to hire a top hockey executive to their front office, Lamoriello has been among the possible candidates. 

However, Shanahan pointed out in his press release that it was always the plan to have Lamoriello on as GM for three seasons before converting to Senior Advisor for the next four years. 

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Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

Anders Lee will represent Team USA at the 2018 Men's World Championship. The tournament will be held in Denmark from May 4-20.

Lee set career-highs in points (62), goals (40) and assists (22) in 2017/18 for the Islanders. 

USA is in Group B with Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Korea, Latvia and Norway. Their first game is against Canada on May 4 at 10:15 a.m.

Lee represented the USA as they the bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF Men's World Championship. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is the team captain. 

Tags: Anders Lee
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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

It remains difficult to comprehend the process and timing of the so-called evaluation period that Islanders ownership claims to be in, and how they failed to reach any conclusions by the end of two sad seasons.

The only thing for certain is that it has now been more than two weeks since Jon Ledecky's public promise of action to the club's fans.

"The season has just ended," Ledecky said in reading a prepared statement on April 9, although the season had really ended months earlier. "As an organization, we will be evaluating all aspects of our hockey operations - and then we will make decisions based on what is best for the future of our club. I am not here today to talk specifically about any individuals - including the players, coaches and the general manager. We believe it is essential to our success to have a thoughtful evaluation process, to look at the past, and more importantly, to assess the future of our team on and off the ice."

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New York Islanders center Matthew Barzal shoots the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Matthew Barzal shoots the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders forward Mathew Barzal is among three finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy that honors the NHL's top rookie.

The 20-year-old Barzal is considered the favorite for the award after scoring 22 goals, 63 assists and 85 points in 82 games for New York this season.

Tags: Mathew Barzal
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General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Co-owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky are in the process of identifying a top executive to join the Islanders' hockey operations department, two NHL sources confirmed on Tuesday to SNY's Point Blank.

Since current Islanders President/GM/Alternate Governor Garth Snow has not been relieved of his duties more than a week since the end of another disastrous season, it is believed that the new hire would become Islanders general manager while Snow would remain President (or given a new title).

The process includes asking other NHL teams for permission to speak to some of their executives. Among those expected to be on Malkin and Ledecky's list of highly-regarded hockey people to interview are Julian BriseBois (Lightning), Paul Fenton (Predators), and Tom Fitzgerald (Devils), who are assistant general managers with their respective clubs.

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Nov 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates after New York Islanders left wing Anders Ladd (27) scored a goal in the first period in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Nov 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates after New York Islanders left wing Anders Ladd (27) scored a goal in the first period in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

Islanders RW Josh Bailey has been added to Team Canada's roster for the IIHF World Championship in Denmark, marking World Championship of his career.

Bailey is replacing Blues rookie D Vince Dunn, who is suffering from an upper-body injury.

The 28-year-old forward had a career year with the Isles this season, posting a career-high 71 points on 18 goals and 53 assists over 76 games.

Tags: Josh Bailey
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 (Kelvin Kuo)
(Kelvin Kuo)

Former Islanders second-round pick G Mikko Koskinen may be seeing a reunion with his only NHL team as he is reportedly leaving his KHL club SKA, per Sport-Express' Igor Eronko.

Though multiple sources have said Koskinen is expected to sign somewhere in the NHL next season, The Athletic's Arthur Staple says the Islanders haven't spoken on him yet. Eronko believes Koskinen signing with the Isles isn't a likely scenario.

After the team drafted him back in 2009, Koskinen played just four games with the Islanders during the 2010-11 season. But that was all the action he saw with the NHL club before shipping off to Finland to play in the SM-liga, or Finnish pro league.

Tags: Christopher Gibson, Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Islanders GM Garth Snow expressed optimism on Monday in the future of the Islanders despite the team missing the playoffs for the last two seasons.

Snow, who along with head coach Doug Weight has expressed the belief that he'll be back next season, said the Islanders are close to a championship. And noted how far the team has come since he took over.

"For me, 2006, when I took over this position, it was a situation where it was an all-out rebuild where we had to bring in talent through the draft," Snow told reporters. "Now we're in a situation where we feel we can compete for a Stanley Cup."

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A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)
A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)

When it comes to his career as Islanders general manager, Garth Snow is a blessed man. Despite a twelve-year run of failure, the kindness shown Snow by his employers has been extraordinary. Perhaps one of these years he will pay it back, and pay it forward.

Many people outside Islanders Country, and even some of the residents, do not have a grasp of the lengths two ownership groups have gone to keep Snow in his position. A brief recap is necessary.

Let's start at the beginning, in 2006, when Snow was given his dream job by Charles Wang after the expiration of Neil Smith's 40-day summer internship. At the time, Snow was just a few months removed from his playing career. As a manager of any kind, he did not have a single hour of practical experience.

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

With the Islanders' 2017-18 season officially under wraps, the biggest storyline for the offseason will be what captain John Tavares decides to do for next season.

At the moment, his mindset is staying with the team that drafted from first overall back in 2009. But Tavares didn't close the door on checking out the free agent market as well.

"This is obviously where I hope to be. I've always stated that," Tavares said. "But obviously, I have some time to think about my situation and go from there...

Tags: John Tavares, Scott Thompson
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General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky apologized on Monday for ownership failing the fans, but refused to speak specifically about the future of GM Garth Snow, head coach Doug Weight, or any players.

"We are committed to long term success," Ledecky said. "Any decisions we make are for the long term success of our hockey club."

CLICK BELOW TO READ LEDECKY'S FULL STATEMENT

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Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The Islanders are reportedly expected to retain GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight for next season, according to Newsday's Andrew Gross.

Snow, Weight and co-owner Jon Ledecky will address the media on Monday after the Islanders finished 35-37-10, the second-worst record in the Metropolitan Division.

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Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck against Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen (51) during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck against Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen (51) during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

The Islanders rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to score three unanswered goals en route to a 4-3 win over the Red Wings in their season finale on Saturday. << Box score

Tags: John Tavares
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Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

DETROIT -- Saturday night's game could be center John Tavares' last with the New York Islanders.

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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Doug Weight, Jordan Eberle and the Islanders organization as a whole expressed their sorrow over the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy.

The hockey community is in mourning after 14 people died as a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a Canadian junior hockey team, collided with a semi-truck on Friday night. Various members of the Islanders organization have given their thoughts and prayers to the team before their season finale on Saturday night.

"Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to the Humboldt Broncos and all of those affected by the devastating tragedy," the Islanders' official Twitter posted...

Tags: Jordan Eberle
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New York Rangers right wing Malte Stromwall and New York Islanders defenseman David Quenneville come together during the third period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Rangers right wing Malte Stromwall and New York Islanders defenseman David Quenneville come together during the third period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders signed 20-year-old defenseman David Quenneville to a three-year entry-level deal, the team announced Friday.

Quenneville, the Islanders' seventh-round pick in 2016, led the WHL with 80 points this season, scoring 26 goals and totaling 54 assists in 70 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers.

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 (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

On Thursday night, the Islanders played their last home game of the season. For John Tavares, it could be his last home game as a member of the team.

Tavares' contract is up after the season and he will be one of the most coveted free agents of the summer. After the game, Tavares tried to downplay its significance and reaffirmed his public desire to stay with the team...

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders beat the Rangers 2-1 in their home finale behind goals from Thomas Hickey and Anthony Beauvillier. << Box score

First period

  • 4:25 NYR Kevin Hayes (PPG); Assists: Mats Zuccarello, Brady Skjei

Second period

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New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)
New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders know Thursday night will be their final home game of the season as well as the last time they call Barclays Center their sole home.

But the most important bit of information remains unknown, and will likely remain a mystery for almost three more months: Will Thursday night also be the final time John Tavares suits up at home for the Islanders?

An uncertain future will overshadow the waning days of a disappointing season Thursday night when the Islanders host the New York Rangers in a battle of teams playing out the string.

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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

If Isles fans want a little reassurance that captain John Tavares would be in blue and orange next season, don't ask Tavares himself. 

Finishing up the final year of his six-year, $33 million deal, Tavares notes that he wants everything to work out with the franchise, but he wouldn't promise that he will still daunt an Islanders jersey next season. 

"The fan base has been tremendous since I got here," Tavares told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "People say certain things. I hope it all works out, too, and I'm back as well. I just want to focus one game at a time and finishing the season strong and in the days and weeks ahead there will be plenty of time to think about it and start looking at the future and move forward."

Tags: John Tavares
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

As is often the case when it comes to this franchise, the Islanders need their fans once again.

Thursday night. For John Tavares.

There should be no mistaking this. If you care about keeping Tavares in orange and blue, this is a code red...

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Matthew Barzal and John Tavares scored two goals apiece and the Islanders overcame a late rally by the Flyers to win on Tuesday night, 5-4.  >> Box score

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Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

NEW YORK -- For the last week, the New York Islanders received reminders of what could have been. But at least they won't have to worry about watching another team celebrate clinching a playoff berth Tuesday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in the penultimate home game of the season at Barclays Center.

 

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Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports  (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Thomas Greiss will be the Islanders' starting goaltender for Tuesday's matchup against the Flyers, head coach Doug Weight said.

Also, Cal Clutterbuck and Josh Bailey return to the lineup, replacing Brandon Davidson and Dennis Seidenberg out. Bailey has been out the past two games with an upper body injury. On the other hand, Clutterbuck's injury after leaving Saturday's game was undisclosed. He didn't practice on Monday, but he will be good to go tonight. 

The Islanders have just three games to go in their 2017-18 campaign, with the Rangers on Thursday and Red Wings on Saturday as well.

 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Josh Bailey, Thomas Greiss
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 (Anne-Marie Sorvin)
(Anne-Marie Sorvin)

For some Islanders players, there is still something to play for with three games left in a disappointing season. 

One of those players is RW Tanner Fritz, who is trying to showcase his skills to be a mainstay with the Islanders next season. Recently, he is doing a good job of that by collecting two points in the past three games, with one being a goal against the Devils this past Saturday. 

"I want to try to get them thinking over the summer that I can be a player that can play in the NHL and prove to them that I'm worthy to play in this league," Fritz told Newsday's Andrew Gross.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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Mar 31, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) reacts after scoring a goal against New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Mar 31, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) reacts after scoring a goal against New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Taylor Hall scored back-to-back goals in a high-scoring second period and Blake Coleman scored the decisive goal in the third period to fuel the Devils to a 4-3 win over the Islanders on Saturday night.  >> Box score

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Feb 24, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Feb 24, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The New Jersey Devils have held a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference every day since winning their season opener on Oct. 7.

Yet with only five games remaining on their schedule, the Devils are clinging to the eighth and final playoff berth in the East, trying to stave off a late-season push by the surging Florida Panthers.

On Saturday night at the Prudential Center, the Devils (40-28-9) look to take another step closer to their first playoff appearance in six years when they host the New York Islanders (32-36-10).

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Despite a high octane offensive performance, the Islanders couldn't keep the Leafs off the board in a 5-4 loss at home.  >> Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Islanders head coach Doug Weight wasn't a fan of what Josh Ho-Sang said about the team sending him to the AHL this season. 

Ho-Sang was sent down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after the team said he needed to work on his defense. Weight said he was "disappointed" by the comments, but noted the team will talk to him soon.

"I think the natural reaction, the defensive reaction is to tell him to look in the mirror, look at his production, look at what he's done," Weight told Newsday's Laura Albanese. "The other reaction should be from us. We should look in the mirror. We should all learn from these events and look to them. Most importantly, we should discuss it with him rather than discuss it through these cameras and we will do that."

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk celebrates his goal (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk celebrates his goal (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are two weeks away from embarking upon a pursuit they hope will allow the franchise to achieve something it hasn't done in more than 50 years. The New York Islanders will have far more modest and shorter-term goals in mind Friday night, when they host the Maple Leafs at Barclays Center. >> Read more

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Mar 7, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang (66) skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)
Mar 7, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang (66) skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)

You can describe the Islanders with many different words and adjectives -- whatever your heart desires -- but coherent would be far from the list.

It's difficult to gauge what plans this team has in store for the future other than being in a constant state of mediocrity and in perpetual rebuild mode.

Even when there are positives, like Mathew Barzal's incredible rookie campaign, there are plenty of distractions that keep you wondering if this team has any real leadership in the front office...

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Monday night made final what was seemingly inevitable for the better part of the last two months or so.

In the midst of quite the disappointing season, the Islanders will miss the playoffs for the second straight time.

What makes it more disheartening was how well the team got off out of the gate this season. After a 5-2 win against the Canucks on Nov. 28, the Islanders were riding pretty high at 15-7-2 and looked like a bona fide playoff team, although there were holes that needed to be corrected.

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Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Andrew Ladd scored the game-winning goal in the final minutes to help the Islanders beat the Senators in a back-and-forth affair on Tuesday night at the Canadian Tire Centre. >> Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier
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Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

OTTAWA -- Two teams sliding toward the regular-season finish line and early tee times will meet up on short rest at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday night.

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