The New York Islanders have had an historic existence with 4 consecutive Stanley Cups in the late 70's and early 80's. Since then, there's been a major drought. Now, behind the talent of John Tavares, the Islanders have re-emerged as a Stanley Cup conteder. Let's see if they really have what it takes to take the cup back to the Island.
Destiny plays into sports very often and in this case, the Islanders have destiny on their side. This is the last season that they'll be playing at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
This is an arena that's seen tons of excitement and more importantly, tons of Stanley Cup wins. After all, the New York Rangers who are the favorites to win the cup at 6/1 have always been the more highly touted team and have only won 1 Stanley Cup since 1940. At 16/1 and currently in the 4th spot in the Eastern Conference at 93 points, the Islanders could see an appealing 1st round matchup in the 2014-2015 NHL Playoffs.
Between the Pipes
A good goalie that is hot at the right time is essential in having a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. Last season, Jonathan Quick was on a mission as he led the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup. New York basically threw everything at him but the kitchen sink, but Quick was too "quick" to the punch and this led to the sweet taste that Lord Stanley's Cup brings.
For the Islanders, Jarolslav Halav has proven that he has the credentials to be successful in the post-season. Halav has basically been the sole netminder for the Islanders and has a 35-16-2 record with a 2.39 GAA. 35 wins are a lot when there's no rest with a two goalie rotation and Halav has stood up to the test.
In his last 5 games, Halav is just 2-3-2 with a 1.99 GAA. In order for Halav to be successful the offense will have to wake up and break out of their funk. In reality, it's not a bad thing. The Islanders are 4th in the NHL in goals and it's only a matter of time before they start to play better. Their recent slump has actually helped where NHL betting odds are concerned as they have a better betting price at 16/1 where futures are concerned to win the Stanley Cup.
The Present and the Future- John Tavares
Brooklyn has really taken to the Nets after leaving New Jersey. I expect to see the Barclay's Center to also take to the New Islanders. New York loves their hockey teams and this will just make the Isles that much better. One reason for the Islanders recent success has been John Tavares.
Tavares has been successful on every level. Although I've already followed Tavares, there was a documentary on Tavares and his family's house is filled with his many trophies.
Let's remember, this is a guy that has just begun to enter his prime, can handle the New York spotlight, and is just 24 years old. What stands out to me is the level of confidence combined with talent that Tavares possesses. He's almost made from the same mold as Derek Jeter; a silent assassin, if you will.
Thus far in Tavares' career, he has 389 points in 425 games. He excels at home and if the Islanders can gain a home ice advantage in the early rounds, this would surely benefit them. If that wasn't the case, the Islanders also have an above .500 record on the road. These are the kind of intangibles that it takes to be a winning hockey club.
As for Tavares, he'll reach the 80 point mark this season and I have no doubt that he'll eventually score 100 points in a season. He had been injured the 2 previous seasons and now that he's healthy, we see what he's capable of accomplishing. This is the first time in decades that the Isles have had a true stud and I look for them to create some waves in the NHL Playoffs.
The Rangers are the favorites, but Tavares has already had success against them. You won't find a team of this caliber at odds like these. Can the Islanders take the Stanley Cup back to Long Island one more time? This is a solid NHL pick at 16/1.