The guessing has begun here about how many points the Islanders might put up this season, and where such a figure will put them. Will they hit at least 70 points, a minimum nine-point improvement? Barring repeat health disasters, I'd think so -- which would probably still be good for a lottery shot at the #1 draft pick. More than that? 76? We'll see.
And if they're in the 70+ range, where does that put them in terms of lottery position next June? (Not to speak of the gallows before this season is even born, but...) To look at it another way, how many teams could the Islanders leapfrog this year? Post-lockout history says one NHL team is likely to bottom out -- to do what the Isles did last year and Philadelphia and St. Louis did previously, and not even make 70 points. Meanwhile, the other bottom five to seven teams typically finish somewhere between the high 60s to high 70s.
Will that be the case this year, or will it be like 2007-08, when the 29th and 30th place teams (the Lightning and Kings) each had 71 points, while the 24th and 25th place teams (Columbus and Toronto) actually eclipsed 80 points with OTL-tainted near-".500" records? If you're thinking ahead, speculating about who the Isles can pass and where they might finish, a look at the worst finishes since the lockout might help. Those historic standings -- and some questions -- after the jump...
It's wildly early to speculate, but do you have a number in mind? And if you do, what rank do you think that will be good for? Without having more than a lick of training camp to go on, I'm betting they finish in the 70s, and they pass at least two teams. They're still in a tough division, though, and the East's other bottom-feeders seem better off than last year, so for me to bet on more than that will take some convincing. Stake your claim now, or ... wait until the next injury.