The New York Islanders came up just one point short of a playoff spot, and the fact that they were that close falls on former interim head coach Doug Weight. Today, Weight has his interim tag removed to become the head coach for the 2017-18 season.
Weight was named head coach on an interim basis after firing Jack Capuano on January 17. At that point, the Islanders were 17-17-8 and at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. GM Garth Snow trusted Doug Weight who held an assistant coach title as well as the assistant general manager.
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Under Doug Weight’s tutelage, the Islanders turned their season around and went 24-12-4 down the stretch. The most impressive part of the turnaround was the fact that Weight got the most out of his players without the leadership of captain John Tavares. Tavares, of course, missed the final four games with an injury.
Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) skates up ice with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Islanders need to win next season, especially with captain John Tavares’ impending free agent status. The player has stated he is willing to sign an extension, but he wants to win.
Doug Weight proved he can be an effective NHL Head Coach, and if the Islanders bring in a solid scoring winger for Tavares, then the group can take the next step in their development.
Coaching has not been the biggest issue in Brooklyn, but Doug Weight may buy GM Garth Snow a little more time in his GM chair. Snow seems to have tenure in his job security despite some of his errors over the years.
Either way, the Doug Weight hiring looks to be a solid move for the Islanders going forward. Let’s wait and see what the 2017-18 NHL season brings for the New York Islanders.