Islanders 2015/16, a Season to Remember

The Islanders magic has run out. After riding the high of their opening round series vs the Florida Panthers, the Islanders opened up their series with Tampa Bay with an exciting victory. It looked like the Islanders were going to be a handful for the Lightning players and coaches. After 4 straight loses, the Islanders are now headed home for the offseason.

Games 3 and 4 are ones that will haunt Islanders players and fans for a long time. In both home games at the Barclays Center, the Islanders held a 1 goal lead deep into the 3rd period, only to give up the lead, and eventually lose both games in overtime. The overtime magic of the first round, in which the islanders scored 3 OT winning goals, seemed to have run out.

The John Tavares vs Victor Hedman matchup was one I highlighted in my series preview. Tavares was held without a point from the second period of game 1, until the end of the series. He finished with just two points in the series. Hedman on the other hand, had a great series, both defensively and offensively. He finished with eight points, including two goals in the deciding Game 5.

There's much to talk about with this Islanders team heading into the offseason. The pending free agency of Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, and Matt Martin. The Travis Hamonic trade request situation. The need to add top talent to play with Tavares on the first line. The goalie situation, with three guys that all have the potential to be a number one goaltender. A decision needs to be made on the coach and general manager, and if the series win buys them more time. All of this will have to be decided by the new majority ownership that takes over shortly. We'll dive into all these decisions in the coming weeks, as we will have plenty of time to discuss both sides of all the issues.

For now, let's look back and cherish what a fun run this has been this season. No, the Islanders didn't win the Stanley Cup, but they did something that this franchise hasn't done in 23 years, win a playoff series. The series victory against the Florida Panthers was one that was obviously overdue, and it was a great moment for the fans and players that have struggled for many years, but always stuck with this team. The true fans have supported this team through all the bumps and bruises, and deserved that series win. Being lucky enough to be in the building for Game 6 of round one, when John Tavares scored the game tying, and overtime winning goal, is a moment I will never forget. Say what you want about the Barclays Center, and it will certainly never be the Coliseum, but that night, that place was electric. I didn't realize how loud the arena was when Tavares scored those two goals, until I watched the replay later that night. I was too busy screaming and yelling myself to notice the decibel level.

This season was a fun ride for the Islanders and their fans. Some rough stretches, and some heartbreaking losses along the way, but ultimately a step in the right direction. With back to back 100 point seasons, and them making the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, the Islanders are continuing their trend upwards. There are certainly a handful of questions this offseason that will shape the future of the team, but the core group will continue to grow, and should be a good team for the next few seasons. Out of the 3 tri-state area teams, you can make a strong argument that the Islanders are in the best shape going forward.

Let's hope they can make another run next season, but in the meantime, I will enjoy watching the JT overtime winner a few more hundred times.


Mark currently writes for The Sports Chill

You can follow him on twitter @Mark_Lupo

<em>Submitted FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or SB Nation. If you're reading this statement, you pass the fine print legalese test. Four stars for you.</em>