The New York Islanders are making a strong stand to begin the 2023-24 NHL season.
Through their first seven games, the Islanders are 4-2-2, which is good for fourth in the Metropolitan Division.
Their crosstown rival, the New York Rangers, lead the division at 6-2-0 while the New Jersey Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes follow suit at second and third.
Despite having played the least amount of games in the NHL, the Islanders sit one point out of a wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Tampa Bay Lightning currently hold the final wildcard spot at 4-2-3 while the Toronto Maple Leafs hold the top spot at 5-2-1.
As things stand right now, the Islanders are a good bet to make the playoffs.
Star goaltender Ilya Sorokin has led the way with a 3-1-2 record with a .910 save percentage and a 2.99 goals-against average.
While his numbers are inflated by a late-game surge by a hot Colorado Avalanche team, he is once again expected to compete for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender.
He also allowed two goals on seven shots during a third-period surge by the Detroit Red Wings in a 4-3 overtime loss on Monday.
“I feel the worst for [Sorokin],” Casey Cizikas said after the 2-0 lead turned loss. “He stands on his head every single night. He gives us a chance to win every single night, and we let him down in the third period.”
His Vezina Trophy odds currently stand at +600, which is tied for the best odds available with Connor Hellebuyck, Igor Shesterkin and Juuse Saros
Semyon Varlamov has backed him up well, going 1-1-0 with a .961 save percentage and a 1.51 goals-against average in two starts.
Young defenseman Noah Dobson has made the jump to lead the team in points early on in the season.
The 23-year-old has two goals and nine points in eight games so far.
He is currently tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in points with stars like Cale Makar, Rasmus Dahlin and Victor Hedman.
“He’s just more and more assertive in his defensive zone,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said of Dobson last week. “He’s gaining that level of confidence where he feels he’s able to separate guys from the puck. As a result, he’s confident when he has the puck on his stick. He’s playing some high minutes, there’s no question. He’s doing a really good job.”
He currently has +10000 odds to win the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the league.
The Islanders have gotten a balanced attack from their forwards.
Last year’s star acquisition Bo Horvat leads the team in goals with four and has added three assists to total seven points on the season.
Kyle Palmieri has three goals and seven points on the season as well.
Star forward Mathew Barzal leads New York’s forward group with five assists with only one goal so far this season.
Brock Nelson’s stat line is the inverse, with four goals and one assist to start the season.
Fourth-line energy forward Cal Clutterbuck has been a pleasant surprise offensively for the Islanders, picking up two goals and four points on the young campaign.
All told, the Islanders have eight players with at least four points, 10 players with at least one goal and 15 players with at least one point through the first eight games of the 2023-24 National Hockey League regular season.