With an incredible group of young offensive weapons, the upstart Isles managed to surge into the postseason in a shortened 2013 season and push the ultra-talented Pittsburgh Penguins to the max before being ousted in six games.
While the Islanders may be an exciting, dynamic team up front with the likes of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and pending unrestricted free agent Brad Boyes, their lack of defense and an aging goalie still leave many questions for fans on the Island.
With Jonathan Bernier evidently available on the open market, the Islanders had an excellent chance to patch up one of the holes on their roster this offseason.
Yet Pierre LeBrun of ESPN and TSN has reported that, from what he knew, the Islanders weren't really in on the Bernier sweepstakes:
@jessespector I don't think the Isles went that far down the road on Bernier though— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 23, 2013
To say that their lack of interest in the 24-year-old netminder is puzzling would be an understatement.
With Evgeni Nabokov just weeks away from turning 38 years old, Garth Snow has to know that in the next few years he'll need a new starting goaltender.
With their farm system being fairly depleted of quality goalies (hockeysfuture.com has goaltending as one of their prospect pool's weaknesses), it's unlikely that the solution will be found within the organization.
At this point, there is a strong chance that by the time Nabokov retires, the Isles will have to settle on a goalie that isn't nearly as strong as Jonathan Bernier.
What makes this situation is even more mind-boggling is the fact that the Islanders' situation in goal, even before the trade, is much more desperate than that of the Maple Leafs.
One has to think that if the Leafs were willing to part with the package they gave up, the Islanders surely would also be okay with a similar trade.
Especially when you factor in that prospect Nino Niederreiter reportedly wants out anyways.
Heck, if Niederreiter could have been the Islanders' version of Matt Frattin, Kevin Poulin could have been the equivalent to Ben Scrivens and their second rounder in 2014 or 2015 could have matched Toronto's offer, Bernier could be an Islander today.
What's more, that trade is almost all-reward and no-risk.
Niederreiter wants out, Poulin hasn't really cut it in his time with the Islanders and second-round picks can easily fail to pan out.
Why Garth Snow and his team didn't place as much of an importance on Bernier as the Leafs did can only be answered by the Isles GM himself.
What can be said for his lack of interest is that it was a big mistake that could really come back to bite the Islanders down the road.