After playoff loss to Lightning, Islanders face important decisions this offseason
The New York Islanders couldn’t make it a clean sweep of the Florida teams in the playoffs.
After defeating the Florida Panthers, they fell in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning after losing four consecutive times.
The Islanders managed only one goal in the final two games of the series and suffered devastating overtime losses on home ice in Brooklyn. Ben Bishop provided the series-clinching shut out for the Lightning in Game 5.
Meanwhile, John Tavares had his chances including a post on Sunday, but ultimately had no points in the final four games of the series. He held himself responsible following the loss. He wasn’t the only Islanders player to have difficulties in this series. Outside of Games 1 and 3, the Islanders struggled offensively, held to one goal or less in three other losses.
“You don’t want to go dry at this time of the year,” said Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, as per the club’s website. “We couldn’t find a way here in the last few games to score some goals.”
Sunday’s defeat has ushered in what should be a busy offseason for the Islanders, with numerous important decisions to make.
New York’s list of pending unrestricted free agents includes Kyle Okposo, who scored 22 goals and 64 points in 79 regular season games and is two years removed from a career-high 27-goal season, and 32-year-old forward Frans Nielsen, who had 20 goals and 52 points in 81 games.
Okposo, especially with his offensive production the last three years, appears to be in line for a hefty raise from his $2.8 million AAV he earned on his latest contract. According to General Fanager, he earned $4.5 million in salary this season.
It’s not known what Okposo is seeking for his next deal, but given his age and production, it seems logical that he could be looking for as much as $7 million per season on a six- or seven-year deal.
Hard-hitting 27-year-old winger Matt Martin is also among their pending UFAs after making $1 million this season, as per General Fanager.
Travis Hamonic could also be on the move this summer via the trade market.
He requested a trade due to family reasons in western Canada, but remained with the Islanders for the season.
His agent, Kevin Epp, had said in February before the deadline that a trade was more likely to happen in the offseason.
“It sucks more, to be honest,” Hamonic told Newsday Long Island after Sunday’s loss. “I think people know how close we are. We genuinely love playing with each other, being around each other.”