The trade of free-agent-to-be Moulson - Tavares‘ close friend - on Oct. 27 for Thomas Vanek cast a pall over the club. Vanek, also set to be a free agent, was then sent packing to Montreal at the March trade deadline.
New York went into a 4-13-2 swoon in November and early December and fell out of contention. The Islanders finished last in the eight-team Metropolitan Division. Their strong road record of 21-18-2 was offset by a poor home mark of 13-19-9.
“It’s frustrating, we did so many good things in the previous year and we had such a good run,” Hamonic said. “Things didn’t go as planned this year, that’s just how the game goes unfortunately. I don’t want to be standing here next season having this conversation again. That’s a pretty common theme in our locker room.”
New York reached the playoffs last year after a five-season absence and lost a tough, six-game first-round series to Pittsburgh. But the once-proud franchise that captured the Stanley Cup four straight years from 1980-83 hasn’t won a playoff series since 1993.
Next season will be the Islanders‘ last on Long Island in Nassau Coliseum before a move to Brooklyn.
Brock Nelson, who had 14 goals and 26 points in his first NHL season, will likely have a larger role then and in the future, along with fellow rookie center Anders Lee.
“These kids have played extremely hard,” Capuano said Sunday after the Islanders‘ season-ending win at Buffalo. “I’m proud of what they’ve done not only in the last month and a half but these last three games on this road trip.”