The New York Islanders have concluded the 2000-2001 season on a disappointing note. What began as a season of high hopes and a first place record at the end of October ended up with the Islanders finishing in last place and looking forward to the draft once again.
But with this summer comes new hope. The Islanders have a lot on their table and for the first time in recent memory, through Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar, they will have the means necessary to improve the team.
First on the table, the Islanders will be looking to hire a new head coach. It would seem that the lead candidates are Brian Murray, Kevin Constantine and Ted Nolan. Murray brings almost 1000 NHL games of experience to the table. Constantine brings a strict discipline coaching style. Nolan brings a Jack Adams Coach of the Year Trophy and an attitude of enthusiasm and motivation to a young team desperately seeking both.
Next, the Islanders will look forward to the 2001 Entry Draft. With the last place finish, the Islanders had the greatest chance of wining the Draft Lottery and picking first overall. Unfortunately, Atlanta wound up winning the lottery and the Islanders will pick second behind them. That may be a blessing in disguise, as there is a notable drop off in talent after the consensus top 2 prospects; Canadian center,
and Russian winger,
When the Stanley Cup Playoffs end, the Free Agent season will begin. We expect the Islanders will be active participants in the trade market. And when July 1 rolls around, Unrestricted Free Agency will begin and there are some superstar athletes that will become available to any team with the dedication to winning and the money to make it happen. Among the most notable UFAs are
and former Islander
. The Islanders are looking to ink several players to bring the franchise some long overdue credibility. Don't be surprised if you see former Islander fan favorite
back in Orange and Blue next year. Pittsburgh may be looking to move the 29 year old Restricted Free Agent defenseman and the Islanders could use an injection of the toughness and spirit Kaspar brings along.
We're looking forward to a very active summer on Long Island. It's an exciting time around here because we now have the commitment of the ownership. The Islanders are a legitimate contender in the Free Agent pool and hold on to a high draft pick.
Look to LongIsland.com's Islander Experts for news, opinions and discussions on the progression of the team this summer! Share your opinions via email to
or use our message board below to start a discussion. We look forward to hearing from you.