New York Islanders
' 38 NHL seasons have included some of the highest highs and lowest lows in hockey history.
The highs are memorable: Under GM Bill Torrey and coach Al Arbour
, the Isles became just the second team to rally from a 3-0 series deficit and win (vs. Pittsburgh in the 1975 quarterfinals) and made the semifinals in only their third season. Five years later, they began one of the NHL's great dynasties by beating Philadelphia in the Final for the first of their four consecutive Stanley Cups (Edmonton beat them in the 1984 Final to derail the "Drive for Five" and end Isles' record 19-series winning streak). The 1993 Isles also pulled off one of the game's great upsets by beating Pittsburgh in overtime of Game 7 in the Patrick Division Finals, ending the Penguins' hopes for a third consecutive Cup.
The lows include a first season that set NHL records for losses and fewest points and more than 15 years since that playoff victory over the Penguins that have seen far more early summer vacations than trips to the playoffs.
The Isles bottomed out in 2008-09, finishing last in the overall standings. Their "reward" was the chance to select center John Tavares
with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 Entry Draft. GM Garth Snow
is banking on Tavares to be the centerpiece of a rebuilding effort for a team that hasn't been to the playoffs since 2007 and has gone 17 years without winning a playoff series.