The New York Islanders have had a tumultuous start to the 2016-17 season, there's no question about that. The old adage 'It's still early' is no longer applicable now that they are 32 games in and are well behind in the standings for a third straight playoff appearance.
Trailing the third place New York Rangers by 17 points for the last guaranteed spot in the Metropolitan division, they are also behind the last wild card spot holder, the Washington Capitals, by 12 points, giving a game in hand and having to jump seven other teams to make the impossible, possible. With the odds makers placing New York's chances around three percent and a road heavy schedule looming in 2017, there could be more Islanders activity than in years past before the NHL's trade deadline, set for March 1 at 3 p.m. ET.
With the first year of a bye week in the NHL instituted, the Islanders will play on New Year's Eve in Winnipeg and not again until Friday, Jan. 6 in Colorado against the equally puzzling and struggling Avalanche.
Tonight, in Brooklyn, they welcome Kyle Okposo back for his first game in a Buffalo Sabres uniform. After a career that spanned nine years and 529 games with the Islanders, he should get a warm welcome like the one received by Matt Martin and Frans Nielsen before him, after being, at times, under appreciated in producing 139 goals and 369 points.