It's true that some players will gain another year of experience elsewhere—whether that is juniors for the young players or leagues like the KHL or Swiss League—however, they'd be getting that same year of experience in the NHL.
Not only would they be getting a year of experience, but they'd be learning to play with their teammates, building the chemistry and the many young players would benefit.
In 2015, the Islanders' lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires. According to Newsday, progress on the talks of renovating or building a new arena in Nassau County haven't materialized.
When the Islanders are in action, there is little support for the team inside the arena. This won't change, especially if there is a lockout.
Winning cures all; it keeps the players, coaches and fans happy. With the season in doubt, the Islanders have no chance to prove that they can be a winning organization.
It gives no reason for former, current and prospective Islander fans to come watch a game at the Nassau Coliseum. I believe this would have been a crucial year for the Islanders to show they can actually win games and be a playoff team.
If they don't play this season, it's "all in" on the 2013-14 season, presuming the players and owners have made an agreement at that point.
I don't think there will be an NHL season in 2012-13. The players have the better bargain with the latest collective bargaining agreement, and that won't change.
The owners don't have as much leverage because hockey is popular in other areas of the world. If it comes down to it, players can just play there.
What are your thoughts on the lockout? How do you think it's going to affect the Islanders both now and long term?
Christopher Benini is a New York Islanders Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and can be followed here.