After five consecutive last-place finishes in the division, the promise of hope in the future for the New York Islanders arrived in the present in 2012-13.
The face of the franchise and leader of the renaissance, John Tavares, became a legitimate MVP candidate, and the Islanders returned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. Though they put a scare into the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, there is more work to be done at Nassau Coliseum before the franchise heads west on the Long Island Expressway to Barclays Center in Brooklyn or the Islanders become a full-fledged Stanley Cup contender.
General manager Garth Snow continued to be patient, looking for low-risk additions who could add value without drastically altering what the Islanders have built around Tavares. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has concussion issues, but he could be a classic bounce-back candidate playing next to Tavares and Matt Moulson.