I’ve been going on twitter or Facebook or some other Islanders chat room and there’s always the select few who believe that if the Islanders lose tonight against the Florida Panthers that the sky is falling. Granted a three game losing streak is not good and yes, the NHL trade deadline is coming, but how far are the Islanders? Should changes be made? How are the rest of the teams doing in comparison to the Islanders. I’ve written many times before, I always play the percentages and the NHL standings are no different. I don’t look at the amount of points, I look at the winning percentage. What struck me this year was the winning percentage of the top eight Eastern Conference teams. When I calculated the percentage to points, I get the pace each team is on pace for:
1. Montreal 112
2. Detroit 110
3. Tampa 109
4. Islanders 109
5. Rangers 106
6. Pittsburgh 105
7. Boston 100
8. Washington 98
So if Washington wins tonight, they’ll be on pace for 100 points to finish the season. Who’s in 9th? the Islanders opponent for tonight’s game, the Florida Panthers, who currently are on pace for 89 points …..89 points…and the Islanders are on pace for 109….everyone doing the math so far? 20 points ahead. Unless Florida goes on a 4 game winning streak, they’re not looking good to make the playoffs. So Islanders fans don’t need to worry about the playoffs. The next paragraph is what they need to worry about.
Go back and look at those numbers again. Every single playoff team is on pace for 100+ points (assuming the Caps win tonight). That’s never been done in the Eastern Conference. In recent times, there has never been a conference that has had all 8 teams finish with 100+ points, ever. The Western Conference came close in 2009-2010 with 7 and the 8th place team finished with 95 points. What does this mean? It means that you should see a few teams active during the weeks coming up to the trade deadline. The numbers indicate that the teams are just too close and that any team could win.
Should the Islanders be one of those teams? It’s been well discussed that the special teams have been a sore spot, the backup goalie position is in doubt, and some are still looking for a left winger for John Tavares. However, I’m not sure if the Islanders should make any moves simply because fans want them done. Islanders Management don’t yet know how far they can go after the regular season. This team is brimming with young talent and it would be unwise, humbly speaking, to ruin any kind of chemistry without seeing the potential of the team as a whole for the duration of the season, playoffs included. I know it’s the last year at the Coliseum and fans want nothing less than a Divisional title, a Presidents Trophy and the Stanley Cup, but in the long term, Isles fans may see more than one Cup in the next few years rather then going for broke for just one year.