After a bad 2013-14 season the Islanders hold the fifth pick in the draft this June. It will be the third time in the past five years that they are in the five slot and it's the fifth year in the last six that they'll be in the top five overall. But... Will they keep the pick? Thanks to the Thomas Vanek trade in October, they owe Buffalo either this year's or next year's first round pick. Today, we'll debate the merits of each option.I've honestly had a hard time with this, debating which pick the Islanders should turn over to the Sabres. There's something to be said for knowing where you're picking and it's hard to leave it up to all the different things that could (in this case) go right over the next year. But I think that if I'm Garth Snow, I'm swallowing my pride and my medicine and sending number five to Buffalo this June. Get rid of it, get it over with. You know how Islander County is and the last thing we all need is to stew about this for a year.The immediate reaction last week after the lottery seemed to be that the Islanders would be showing that they're "giving up" on next season if they pass up on this year's pick. It would indicate that they're expecting to be worse next year than they are this year. I've got a couple qualms with that. 1) The Islanders need a goaltender in the worst way. They will not be an improved team next year with the current trio. The team was also healthy for the most part up until the Olympic break. Wouldn't a big acquisition restore faith even if they gave up the pick? Are we naive enough to believe this team will actually be better this year? 2) It seems pretty clear that the top of next year's draft is going to be BIG with the grand prize the possible next Crosby, Connor McDavid. My nightmare is the Islanders falling into the bottom third (or worse) of the league and their logo coming up in the lottery causing a franchise altering player such as McDavid to play upstate instead of in Brooklyn. Christian, am I crazy?Completely crazy!By the time the lottery was on last Tuesday I had long believed that giving up next years pick was the right thing to do if you are the Islanders. Next years draft has sex appeal and some big name players, but YES if you defer this years pick you are saying to everyone in Isles country this team is not getting better and we’ll be in the top-5 again next year.This Islander team is not that far off from actually being a threat in the playoffs they just need to make some smart off-season moves to facilitate that. And keeping the number five pick this year will help that. Holding onto the pick gives the Isles options to either 1) keep the selection to use it on a player like Willie Nylander, Sam Bennett or Michael Dal Colle. 2) They use the the selection as part of a trade to bring in the NHL defenseman or goaltender the Islanders so desperately need. It’s not that farfetched to think they could pull off a deal like that during the draft or in the day or so leading up to it. Potentially passing up on “the next Sidney Crosby” is tough to think about now, but if the Islanders play their cards right and make moves during the offseason — Like i believe they will do this year — this will be a mute point they will be no where near position to pick McDavid. So I think Snow will make the right call and keep this years draft pick and send next year’s selection to Buffalo.Well, without knowing Garth Snow's plan for the off-season, it's hard for me to assume that "this will be the year". Obviously he's not going to come out and say what that plan is, but I'm not sure where they go. A No. 5 pick is certainly great and nice for the future, but there's almost no way that guy plays in the NHL next year. There's usually only a couple of NHL ready players in a given draft. I would hope they go calling for free agents, but Doug Weight said it himself at the season ticket holder meeting last week, they call big free agents and no one wants to return their calls.  So that leaves trades and improvement from within.As far as trades, that's a tough thing to accomplish and just the thought of trading a top-five pick gives me heartburn.I think Griffin Reinhart will be up next year, which is a great addition. Nelson, Strome and Lee look good but waiting on prospects to carry the team is hit and miss. Barring a season altering goaltender coming here -- UFAs Miller, Hiller or Halak off the top of my head -- I don't see them being better than the eighth seed they were two years ago. And that's if there are no injuries and everything goes right. Sure, a #5 pick was probably the worst case scenario this year, but it's not far fetched that they could end up between 5-10 next year.For Garth Snow to believe that his team will end up between 5-10 next year means he has already given up the upcoming year, which he can not do. The Islanders and their management know going into Brooklyn they CAN NOT have another year like they did this. And that means doing everything in their power to improve this roster in the off-season.Mike Milbury may have ruined the idea of trading draft picks for fans of this team, but that can’t and shouldn’t be held against Snow. If the Islanders get the right deal for an established player and they have to give up the draft pick, then he has to do it.Like I said earlier, I don’t think this team as far off as some people want to believe and even if they just make it in as an eighth seed, anything can happen in the playoffs. Just look at what is happening this year.I do agree that they can't have another year like this (well, technically they can but they had better not allow it). There's going to be a lot of positive momentum going into Brooklyn and on the flip side there will be minimal positive momentum if the team continues to be an also-ran.This is a great opportunity for the team to, maybe not start over fresh, but create a sort of 'new beginning' if you will. It'll be a chance to put to bed all the problems both on the ice and with the arena/financial situation that have haunted them for the last couple decades. Who knows, maybe there will even be a new owner by then. Hopefully however the draft pick scenario plays out, it will be a scenario that pushes the team forward.
Tags: Islanders, Andrew Vazzano, SNY.tv

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)

There has been some cautious rejoicing in Islanders Country over the last 24 hours, in the wake of reports about John Tavares from the very reliable Darren Dreger and Pierre Lebrun, and why not?

Prior to Lou Lamoriello mercifully ridding the Islanders organization of the dark clouds brought by the Garth Snow administration, there was little chance Tavares was staying with the Islanders. Now, there is hope.

NEWS

Dreger and Lebrun have reported that Tavares and agent Pat Brisson have been focused entirely on discussions with the Islanders, and there is a possibility the franchise player could re-sign with the club before the listening period with other teams begins in the last week of June...

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal skates the puck by Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal skates the puck by Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders open the preseason at the Nassau Coliseum on Sept. 16 when they play the Philadelphia Flyers at 1 p.m.

New York will have four home preseason games -- two at Barclays Center (Sept. 18 vs. Philadelphia, Sept. 20 vs. New Jersey Devils) and one at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut (Sept. 22 vs. New York Rangers).

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

John Tavares is focusing on negotiating a contract extension with the Islanders and has been in daily contact for the last two weeks, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. Tavares is set to become a free agent on July 1.

The news, if true, would be a monumental step in the right direction for Lou Lamoriello, the team's new President of Hockey Operations. Before his hiring, Tavares' future with the team seemed ominous...

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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)

In anticipation of the arrival of a new Islanders head coach, the organization has started parting ways with coaches from the Doug Weight regime.

Point Blank has learned that among those let go was Greg Cronin, who served as an associate coach under Weight, as an assistant under Jack Capuano, and as head coach in Bridgeport (2003-2005). Cronin, who was a close ally of ousted GM Garth Snow, has been around the Islanders on and off since 1998.

"As everyone expected, it's a blood-letting," said a source close to the team. "The only small surprise is that it's already happening...before the new head coach comes in."

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 (Christopher Katsarov)
(Christopher Katsarov)

While Lou Lamoriello continues to shape the Islanders' hockey operations, adding the highly-respected Steve Pellegrini on Tuesday as another assistant GM, word around team headquarters is that the incumbent members of the scouting staff will remain in place for the NHL Draft next weekend in Dallas.

This is as it should be. After all, they have been scouting the hockey world for the last year. To dismiss their reports and opinions would be foolish. The scouts at the table next Friday and Saturday will learn more about their futures with the Islanders by the end of June, if not by the end of draft weekend.

But this being our Islanders with their dysfunctional history, there was actually one draft where the scene at the draft table was anything but normal.

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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 added another face to their revitalized front office as Steve Pellegrini was named assistant GM, the team announced Tuesday. 

Islanders president and GM Lou Lamoriello reunites with Pellegrini, who has been working for the Devils as their vice president of hockey operations since 2006. He will work alongside Lamoriello's son, Chris, who holds the same role in the organization.

"Steve brings over 20 years of knowledge and experience to our hockey operations," Lamoriello said. 

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Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Lou Lamoriello is moving quickly in his search for the next Islanders head coach. According to a source, the new boss wants to have a head coach in place by the middle of next week - prior to the NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22 and 23.

Although Lamoriello is not operating under a hard deadline, his reasoning is obvious:

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports (Jennifer Stewart)
Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports (Jennifer Stewart)

Islanders RW Jordan Eberle couldn't help himself. He wanted to continue playing with his linemates. 

Eberle traveled to Denmark to join Team Canada in the IIHF World Championship, and playing on the same line with Islanders LW Anthony Beauvillier and C Mathew Barzal again was the main reason why. Eberle had his best season in three years with that line, posting 59 points (25 goals, 34 assists) over 81 games. 

"Ebs went all the way to Europe just to play with us two goofs again," Beauvillier told NHL.com's Cory Wright. "We were kidding around, but he's probably a little sick of us now."

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Scott Thompson
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Oct 2, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild assistant coach Scott Stevens during a preseason hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Hurricanes 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Oct 2, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild assistant coach Scott Stevens during a preseason hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Hurricanes 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Scott Stevens is a leading candidate to become an important figure in the revitalization of the Islanders under Lou Lamoriello, a source with knowledge of the situation has told Islanders Point Blank.

Stevens' projected role is uncertain at the moment.

The Hall of Fame defenseman appears best-suited for the position of associate coach, under an experienced NHL head coach such as Dave Tippett. However, it cannot be ruled out that Stevens will become head coach.

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Islanders make changes 00:00:20
The Islanders fired GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight. Lou Lamoriello will become GM and begin the search for the next head coach.

Lou Lamoriello was in charge of the Islanders for less than a week, and he was already beginning to instill the culture that has made him a legendary figure in the NHL.

According to multiple sources, change is afoot in the Islanders' offices at Northwell Health Ice Center at Eisenhower Park. Lamoriello and whomever ends up in the hockey department, along with a few others, will have the place to themselves. Several of the team's departments -- think along the lines of accounting, marketing, the folks who shoot off the t-shirt guns -- will be relocating elsewhere in Nassau County.

In other words, Garth Snow didn't stand a chance, and Doug Weight - coming off a brutal and at times embarrassing season - was a victim of Snow's malpractice. Lamoriello is performing a complete makeover of the Islanders, and he's going to do it his way.

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The Islanders have fired GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight, the team announced Tuesday.

New president of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello announced that Snow and Weight were relieved of their duties, and that he will assume the role as the team's GM. He will also be leading the search to find a new head coach. 

"The New York Islanders would like to thank both Garth and Doug for their dedication to the franchise," Lamoriello said. "Both started their tenures with the franchise as players and grew as tremendous leaders to the positions they held."  

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 (Christopher Katsarov)
(Christopher Katsarov)

The hiring of Lou Lamoriello to run the hockey operations of the Islanders gives the club and its fans legitimate hope that John Tavares will re-sign. Before co-owner Scott Malkin made the smart move to go rogue, tell nary a soul about it, and lure Lamoriello, Tavares was virtually out the door.

But on the other hand, while the euphoria in the wake of hiring the Hall of Fame franchise builder was justifiable, it's a mistake to make any assumptions.

This hopelessly naïve leap some observers have made that Lamoriello committed to the Islanders because he is convinced Tavares is staying? Nonsense.

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Russian athlete Ilya Kovalchuk (71) celebrates with Sergei Andronov (11) after scoring a goal during the second period of the preliminary round of the men's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum/AP)
Russian athlete Ilya Kovalchuk (71) celebrates with Sergei Andronov (11) after scoring a goal during the second period of the preliminary round of the men's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum/AP)

While 2018 will be the summer of John Tavares around the NHL, particularly for the Islanders, there's another intriguing name being discussed for the team: Ilya Kovalchuk. 

Kovalchuk had reportedly identified the Islanders as a fit, according to TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger...

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Feb 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Josh Anderson (77) pursue a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 13, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Josh Anderson (77) pursue a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Islanders President of Hockey Operations Lou Lamoriello has been in "near daily" contact with John Tavares' agent, reports Frank Seravalli of TSN

Tavares, who is set to become a free agent on July 1, seemed to approve of the Islanders' decision to hire Lamoriello last month, according to Andrew Gross of Newsday.

The Hockey Hall-of-Famer recently heaped praise on Tavares, calling him "one of the elite players," but wouldn't elaborate upon his future with the team.

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)

The Islanders said they were going to make a change to their hockery operations, and they certainly made a large splash in that area by hiring Hockey Hall of Fame member Lou Lamoriello as their president of hockey operations. 

Well, Lamoriello's championship pedigree joining the Islanders has reportely impressed captain John Tavares, per Newsday's Andrew Gross. He states that what Lamoriello and Tavares want for the Islanders has a "convergence there."

Lamoriello said that he doesn't view the Isles as a rebuiling team, but instead, a few pieces away from being a true contender.

Tags: John Tavares
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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.

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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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