Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Islanders Name Dough Weight Head Coach

The Islanders have hired interim coach Doug Weight on a full-time basis. Weight, who replaced Jack Cupuano on January 17 and guided the Islanders to a 24-12-4 record down the stretch, becomes the 19th head coach in Islanders history.

“For me, Doug had the immediate respect of the players,” Isles GM Garth Snow said, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday. “In his role as assistant GM and assistant coach, he had a hand in acquiring almost all of our players, so there was a comfort level there when he came in. This was something I was thinking about for the last month of the season.”

Weight will have a challenging first year as head coach. The Islanders can begin negotiations with John Tavares on July 1, and those negotiations will dictate the tone of the season. But before that the Islanders ownership must decide if they are going to stick with Garth Snow as G.M. The much beleaguered Snow had a terrible off-season that saw the team lose cornerstone players Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo plus heart-and-soul winger Matt Martin to free agency. He overpaid to bring Andrew Ladd in on a seven-year deal but Ladd struggled mightily in the first half of the season before getting his game together late.

Then there was the three-goalie situation that led to Jaroslav Halak being shipped to Bridgeport after his agent complained. Halak finished the season in Brooklyn as the team's No.1 goalie, despite the fact that New York inked Thomas Greiss to a three-year deal.

Halak still has one year remaining on his contract.

Under Weight the Islanders were a strong offensive team, but they struggled defensively and on the power play. There's a lot of work to be done in Brooklyn, but at least the Islanders know who their coach will be next season before that work begins.