October 01, 2014

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

LAST SEASON: 34-37-11, 79 points. Missed the playoffs by finishing eighth in Metropolitan Division and 14th in Eastern Conference.

COACH: Jack Capuano, fifth season with Islanders (118-120-39).

ADDED: G Jaroslav Halak, G Chad Johnson, C Cory Conacher, RW Jack Skille, LW Harry Zolnierczyk, C Mikhail Grabovski, LW Nikolai Kulemin.

LOST: G Evgeni Nabokov, D Radek Martinek.

PLAYER TO WATCH: John Tavares. The 24-year-old star center with the C on his sweater is back after missing New York's final 22 games last season due to a knee injury sustained while playing for Canada in the Olympics. He was second on the team with 66 points - including 24 goals - despite playing in only 59 games. The Islanders have made the playoffs only once (2013) since he was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft.

OUTLOOK: This will be a year of nostalgia for the Islanders as they play their final season at the Nassau Coliseum - their home since joining the NHL in 1972 where four straight Stanley Cup champions were built from 1980-83. They will move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center next season. Since 2004, the Islanders have reached the playoffs just twice (2007 and 2013) and were eliminated in the first round both times. The task doesn't get any easier in the eight-team Metropolitan Division with perennial powerhouse Pittsburgh and the rival New York Rangers, who reached the Stanley Cup finals last season. Halak will shoulder a lot of the burden, along with Tavares, as he replaces veteran Evgeni Nabokov in goal.

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