After returning to the playoffs in 2013, the Islanders were near the bottom in 2014. They had a very good offseason.
The Islanders were 28th in goals against, allowing 267 goals in. One of their main gaps was in goal. They acquired Jaro Halak from Washington, who posted a .921 sv% last season and holds a .918 for his career. Paired with Chad Johnson, the Islanders have a .926 sv% overall as their last line of defense. That’s a big upgrade from years past with Evgeni Nabokov, Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson, Al Montoya, and Rick Dipietro. It could put them in the top half of the number of goals allowed.
225 goals for isn’t bad, but improvement wouldn’t be bad. For the offense, they acquired both Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin. It is a gamble for them, especially with the contracts they paid them. Grabovski signed to a 4 year, $20 million deal, and Kulemin agreed to 4 years at $16.75 million. Kulemin has totaled only 23 goals the last 3 seasons, and Grabovski notched only 13 last season. That being said, when they were scoring 30 goals, they were playing along side each other in Toronto, so this could turn out very well for New York.
Some questions out there is Jaro Halak’s groin problems and the pressure on the players to do well. Did they improve? I think so. Are they going to make the playoffs? I don’t think so.