The new calendar year is upon us, and with it always comes resolutions to try to work on one's self over the next 365 days. Everyone could use a little self-improvement, right? The Islanders are no different, so what should their resolutions be for 2017? Here are three suggestions to get them started.
Commit to the future
This doesn't necessarily mean throw in the towel, but the team should make a concentrated effort to prioritize the players who will be here for the long haul over the short-term solutions.
That means no more sitting for Anthony Beauvillier, who has been one of the Isles' best forwards despite being shuffled in and out of the lineup, continuing to find ways to keep young forwards like Ryan Strome producing and committing to Thomas Greiss as the number one goaltender, maybe even talking extension with him. These are the guys you're going to be relying on in the distant future, and they shouldn't take a back seat to a guy like Jason Chimera, for example.
Don't give up the ghost
While the future should be the team's main consideration, they shouldn't turn their back completely away from the possibility of a 2017 playoff berth. Yes, it would require a massive run, but entering Sunday, the Isles are just eight points behind Philadelphia for the final Wild Card with two games in hand.
As Andy and I discussed this week, this team has a lot riding on making sure the future outlook of this organization remains positive (namely John Tavares deciding to stick around). A strong finish, even if it comes up short of a playoff bid, would go a long way in Brooklyn remaining a desirable destination.
Break up Leddy and Hamonic for good
The Nick Leddy-Travis Hamonic pairing has been one of the worst defensive pairings in hockey this season. The two have even strength Corsi For and Fenwick For Percentages of 43.8 and 43.9 for Leddy and 44.4 in both categories for Hamonic, the worst of the Islanders' defenseman.
Both guys are good players, we know that, but break up this pairing because it's just not working. Mixing it up may help the Isles defense start minimizing the shooting gallery they allow against their goaltenders in a nightly basis.