Since its foundation in 1972, the New York Islanders have established themselves as one of the most interesting teams for ice hockey fans to follow. Going into the National Hockey League (NHL) 2013/2014 season, this sense of interest remains as high as ever for a variety of reasons. These reasons are outlined in the paragraphs that follow.
First, the seven new players that the team have acquired in 2013 will certainly strengthen their overall form on the rink. These include Americans such as the defencemen Joe Finlay and Brian Strait, as well as the free agent Tim Thomas. However, other countries besides the United States are also well represented within the New York Islanders.
From Canada, the Islanders have taken Cal Clutterback to play right-wing and Pierre-Marc Bouchard to play centre position. From Denmark, Peter Ragin also plays in the centre, while another free agent, Radek Martinek of the Czech Republic, plays in defence. This international composition provides the team with a greater diversity than most, which should greatly enhance the quality of their play.
A notable improvement in the finishing position of this team in previous years is one more reason for following them. After several years of finishing 5th in the Atlantic division of the NHL Eastern Conference, and failing to qualify for season playoffs, in 2012/2013 they finished 3rd in the Atlantic division and made it to the Conference Quarter Finals, where they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. This improvement is indicative of great promise coming into this year's season.
In the early 1980s, the Islanders won a historic 19 consecutive playoffs and four consecutive Stanley Cups. While reaching those heights again may be a tall order for the current roster, they are certainly up to the job. In any event, the Islanders have many things going for them as we enter the 2013/2014 season, and this makes following their progress almost essential.
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