Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
The NHL will conclude Game 2 of all first-round playoff series tonight as the Islanders begin their summer vacations after missing out on the tournament by one single point. A point that will lead to a summer that could be the most defining in franchise history.
One last time for 2016-17, I present my thoughts via the scratchpad. After writing plenty of wrap-up material this week, including my retrospective and what's next, in addition to friend and colleague Brian Erni and I discussing the future of Garth Snow, now it's my turn to sit back on the couch and appreciate the greatest game on its biggest stage.
You, the reader, are essential to the success of SNY's Islanders Point Blank. We thank you for staying with us throughout the season - visiting, reading and commenting. This job is thankless and unforgiving. At times, downright exhausting. But to know you're reaching a large contingent of passionate Islanders fans, feeding their hunger for information, makes it all worth it, whether you agree with us or not.
Special thanks goes out to all the editors at SNY, Islanders and Barclays public relations departments and all who work around the team and BSE on a daily basis. Mostly behind the scenes, all do tremendous work.
- Team MVP Anders Lee put a nice bow on his breakout 34-goal season by appearing on the Islanders Point Blank podcast and enjoying some banter with Brian Compton and Mike Carver. If you haven't caught onto this podcast yet, what are you waiting for? It's the best one out there covering the team.
- I fully expect the team to look different next year, with perhaps one addition via trade from the outside. All other changes are assumed to be internal with Mathew Barzal joining Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Ho-Sang at forward. That's my expectation. But why do I fear that Barzal will somehow end up in Bridgeport the entire season?
- Bridgeport was eliminated from Calder Cup playoff contention Friday, despite having the fifth most points in the Eastern Conference. Michael Dal Colle finishes his first pro season at a respectable 15-26-41 in 74 games. An area of work that needs improvement is only 135 shots on goal.
- The hope for the big club is that Travis Hamonic returns home, gets significant rest and a return to good health prior to the start of the new campaign in September. I highly doubt he will ever see Nick Leddy as a partner again. That pair contributed greatly to the 6-10-4 start that essentially sunk the season.
- New York was 24-12-4 under Doug Weight, the second best record in the entire league since he took over for fired Jack Capuano. But keep in mind, there were many times when the team was simply asleep at the wheel down the stretch when in striking distance, or even control of, a playoff spot. The power play was still powerless. So, plenty for Weight and his new staff, once hired, to work on this summer after the draft.
- The fact that general manager Garth Snow gets another hall pass is distressing for many fans and some who cover the organization. He didn't consider ANY of the other available head coaches on the market before settling on 40 games of experience and took zero responsibility for the three-headed goaltender drama.
- Owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin don't have to speak to appease anyone, whether that be media or the fanbase. The pair is working hard on many important issues that will shape the organization moving forward, including a new building, team president and of course, John Tavares entering the final year of his contract to name just a few. They will speak when they have something to share, which in the case of a new arena, could be soon.
- Some predictions, just for the fun of it. Don't go placing bets, as anyone who has read me for some time or knows me, knows you would surely lose. Arena plans in Belmont, no team president hired, Duchene is acquired, Halak traded for a draft pick, de Haan lost to expansion.
- Ballots for end of season awards are also in and I chose Conor McDavid for MVP, Brent Burns for Norris, Auston Matthews for Calder and Ryan Kesler for Selke.