Islanders looking to turn page after Tavares' departure
Hire Trotz as coach, sign Komarov, Filppula to add forward depthby Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the New York Islanders:
The New York Islanders will begin a new era this season with a change in leadership on and off the ice.
John Tavares is no longer Islanders captain after the 27-year-old center signed a seven-year, $77 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1. The No. 1 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Tavares had 621 points (272 goals, 349 assists) in 669 games over nine seasons with New York.
Given how difficult Tavares is to replace, the Islanders have added depth since his decision to leave New York. Forwards Leo Komarov, Valtteri Filppula, Jan Kovar and Tom Kuhnhackl were all signed as free agents, and Matt Martin was acquired in a trade from the Maple Leafs.
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Lou Lamoriello is running the show after being hired as president of hockey operations May 22. He named himself general manager June 5, the same day he fired Garth Snow and coach Doug Weight.
Barry Trotz was hired as coach June 21, less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals. Trotz is the first coach the Islanders have hired with prior NHL experience since Ted Nolan in 2006.
Here is what the Islanders look like today:
Barry Trotz, coach: He guided the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship in their 43-season history in 2017-18. The 56-year-old ranks fifth all-time in wins (762) and games coached (1,524) in NHL history. He won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 2016. … Robin Lehner, G: He agreed to a one-year contract July 3 after playing the past three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. Lehner, who turns 27 on July 24, went 14-26-9 with a 3.01 goals-against average and .908 save percentage last season and is 72-97-35 with a 2.82 GAA and .915 save percentage in 219 NHL games with the Sabres and Ottawa Senators. … Leo Komarov, F: The 31-year-old, whose 219 hits were 14th in the NHL last season, had 122 points (52 goals, 70 assists) in 327 games over five seasons with the Maple Leafs. He agreed to a four-year contract July 1. … Valtteri Filppula, F: He agreed to a one-year contract July 1 and will bring 12 seasons of NHL experience to New York. The 34-year-old has 463 points (168 goals, 295 assists) in 876 games with the Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers. … Matt Martin, F: He returns to the Islanders after being acquired in a trade from the Maple Leafs for goalie prospect Eamon McAdam on July 3. Martin played the past two seasons in Toronto after playing his first six with New York. He has 109 points (50 goals, 59 assists) and 853 penalty minutes in 570 NHL games. … Tom Kuhnhackl, F: The 26-year-old agreed to a one-year contract July 2 after playing three seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. Kuhnhackl has 39 points (11 goals, 28 assists) in 168 NHL games. … Jan Kovar, F: The 28-year-old agreed to a one-year contract July 9 and comes to North America after playing the past five seasons with Magnitogorsk Metallurg in the Kontinental Hockey League, where he had 286 points (97 goals, 189 assists) in 285 games.
Video: Barry Trotz heads to the Islanders
John Tavares, F: The face of the franchise and captain since the start of the 2013-14 season, Tavares had 84 points (37 goals, 47 assists) in 82 games and led the Islanders in scoring in seven of his nine seasons. … Jaroslav Halak, G: He signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Boston Bruins on July 1 after playing the past four seasons with the Islanders. The 33-year-old is 232-150-48 with a 2.50 GAA and .916 save percentage in 449 games with the Islanders, Capitals, St. Louis Blues and Montreal Canadiens. … Calvin de Haan, D: He signed a four-year, $18.2 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on July 3. A first-round pick (No. 12) by the Islanders at the 2009 NHL Draft, the 27-year-old has 81 points (12 goals, 69 assists) in 304 NHL games. … Nikolay Kulemin, F: The 32-year-old decided to return home and play in the KHL this season after he became an unrestricted free agent July 1. Kulemin played the past four seasons with the Islanders and had 274 points (121 goals, 153 assists) in 669 games with New York and Toronto.
On the cusp
Joshua Ho-Sang, F: The Islanders are still hopeful Ho-Sang, 22, can become a full-time player at the NHL level. He had 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in 22 games with New York last season and 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists) in 50 games for Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. Ho-Sang was a first-round pick (No. 28) in the 2014 NHL Draft. … Devon Toews, D: The 24-year-old missed the second half of last season for Bridgeport because of a shoulder injury but is expected to be ready for training camp. A fourth-round pick (No. 108) in the 2014 draft, Toews had 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 30 AHL games prior to the injury. … Kieffer Bellows, F: The 20-year-old scored 41 goals in 56 games for Portland of the Western Hockey League last season and is determined to battle for a job with the Islanders in training camp. He was a first-round pick (No. 19) in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Video: NYI@FLA: Nelson scores off Ho-Sang's sweet pass
What they still need
It's going to be awfully difficult to replace everything Tavares brought to the Islanders, so in the meantime, they should spend the next two months trying to trade for another top-four defenseman after allowing the most goals in the NHL last season (293).
It's no secret that forwards Anders Lee and Josh Bailey have lost fantasy value as a result of Tavares' decision to join the Maple Leafs, but Lee is much more likely than Bailey to remain fantasy-relevant, especially considering he's entering a contract year (potential 2019 UFA). Among all of Tavares' linemates in his nine seasons with the Islanders, Lee had two of the top three goal-scoring seasons (40 last season, 34 in 2016-17; Matt Moulson had 36 in 2011-12). Even after Lee's best season yet, his fantasy average draft position may not be much higher than last season (167.8), giving him sneaky upside if he snatches the left wing spot from Anthony Beauvillier on a line with Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal, whose 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) led New York. Lee will remain a fixture on the first power-play unit with Barzal, Jordan Eberle and defensemen Nick Leddy and/or Ryan Pulock. Lee, who has 31 power-play goals over the past three seasons (T-11th in NHL), could still stay afloat without Tavares under Trotz, who helped the Washington Capitals lead the NHL in power-play goals (227) in his four seasons as coach. -- Pete Jensen
Anders Lee -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier -- Brock Nelson -- Josh Bailey
Andrew Ladd -- Valtteri Filppula -- Leo Komarov
Matt Martin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey -- Ryan Pulock
Adam Pelech -- Scott Mayfield