It’s that time of year—that time when all the non-playoff teams clean out their lockers and speak to the media one final time before riding off into the summer.
Today is breakup day for the Islanders, who this season have to do this in April instead of May or June. The last time they had to do that was in 2018; at that time, there were a lot of questions about a certain former captain who happened to be in his final few moments in Islanders gear.
This year, the questions surrounding the Islanders still sort of have to do with who’s staying and who’s going. But this time, the players staying or going don’t have nearly as much say in that. GM Lou Lamoriello indicated that he will discuss “hockey trades” this offseason, meaning some current players could be on the move.
In other words, today might be the last time you see one or more of these Islanders in blue and orange.
Last game recaps and notes:
- We don’t yet know if that really was Zdeno Chara’s last game in the NHL. But if it was, he was serenaded on his way out. Incredible that he scored, too. It also may have been the swan song of Andy Greene. [LHH | Islanders | Newsday]
- With all the hubbub, it’s okay if you might have forgotten that the Isles blew a 3-1 third period lead and gave up five goals in the final period. [3 Takeaways]
- Steven Stamkos recorded his first regular-season hat trick since 2018 in the comeback—he has returned to form this year after a string of injury-filled but Cup-victorious seasons. [Rapid Recap]
- The Islanders went 16-11-2 in their final 29 games. Not bad, considering they were all played in a span of only 51 days. Only twice during that stretch did they have two days between games, and they played seven back-to-backs over that stretch. [NYI Skinny]
- The season has finally ended. The Islanders are still frustrated with how it turned out, but their tired bodies will get some much-needed rest. [Newsday]
- Now that the season is over, we must ask: Is the window closed, or can they retool and contend? Lightning coach Jon Cooper sees a lot of parallels between the 2022 Islanders and his 2017 squad, who missed the playoffs after making the Cup Finals in 2015 and Eastern Conference Finals in 2016. [The Athletic]
- Five other questions that need to be answered this offseason include who stays and who goes and whether the team should begin negotiations with Mathew Barzal on an extension. [Newsday]
- Bridgeport has at least two playoff games to play, which will give us a look at some of the team’s prospects, including Aatu Räty. [Newsday]
- Barzal sounds like he wants to stay here forever. He and the rest of his teammates believe they’ll compete for the Cup next year. He also mentions, interestingly, that this is the first offseason in a few years where he can actually train again—a good thing for the young guys, especially.
"Our locker room is not happy with how the season went. We want to be competing for the Stanley Cup every year. This group is already excited to get back."— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 30, 2022
Barzal ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Iihl0Jk77m
Last night’s NHL scores, the (almost) final of the regular season, include the Canadiens hanging ten on the Panthers, who rested just about every important starter. It was Carey Price’s first win since 2021, and it may have been his final game ever.
The playoff bracket is set: Canes-Bruins, Rangers-Penguins, Panthers-Capitals, and Maple Leafs-Lightning in the East; and Avalanche-Predators, Wild-Blues, Flames-Stars, and Oilers-Kings in the West. The playoffs begin Monday.