In the spirit of the vacation season, PHR will check out what groups are grateful for because the season passes the one-quarter mark. There additionally could be a couple of issues your crew would really like down the highway. We’ll look at what’s gone properly within the early going and what may enhance because the season rolls on for the New York Islanders.
What are the Islanders grateful for?
A stingy protection corps.
Yes, a part of their success is because of Barry Trotz’s system, however the Islanders boast a bunch of blueliners that’s nonetheless comparatively unheralded. Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are each high quality rearguards locked up on long-term offers that would wind up being team-friendly by the top; Pulock’s extension carries a $6.15M AAV by way of 2030 that kicks in subsequent season whereas Pelech checks in at $5.75M by way of 2029. That’s a top quality duo on the again finish to construct round for a very long time. Noah Dobson may even be a part of that long-term future, whereas Scott Mayfield’s contract continues to be one of many higher bargains within the league for not less than yet one more 12 months after this one.
Individually, none of those gamers brings a “wow” issue to the desk however as a bunch, it’s a adequate unit to assist preserve them shut most nights even when the offense struggles. If they’re going to claw their approach again into the playoff image, this group can be a giant a part of it (particularly with Pulock set to return quickly).
Who are the Islanders grateful for?
For years, Sorokin has been touted as their goalie of the longer term. After lastly coming to North America and taking part in final season, he was the backup to Semyon Varlamov. It’s time to contemplate the torch as handed. This season, the 26-year-old has been one of many higher goalies within the league, posting a .926 save share, which places him within the prime 10 leaguewide in that class. He additionally has made greater than 70% of the begins this season. Part of that is because of an early harm to Semyon Varlamov, however Sorokin has additionally outplayed Varlamov significantly as properly. There was some danger to Sorokin’s three-year, $12M contract contemplating he had performed all of twenty-two regular-season video games heading into this season, however abruptly, he’s one of many higher bargains for goaltenders across the league.
What would the Islanders be much more grateful for?
Offense. Not simply depth scoring or secondary scoring, or offense from the protection. The Islanders want manufacturing, interval. Mathew Barzal is their star middle, however he has solely 5 targets this season (which nonetheless places him in a tie for fourth on the crew). Kyle Palmieri, Josh Bailey and Zach Parise are all succesful veteran gamers, they usually’re all caught at a single aim. Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin are massive items of their fourth line on above-market contracts, they usually’ve did not mild the lamp in 39 mixed video games. The protection as an entire has simply 5 tallies on the season. You get the purpose.
With even a median offense and a few higher luck on the COVID entrance, it is a crew that could possibly be proper within the playoff combine as issues stand. If they’re going to get again into postseason rivalry with the struggles they’ve had early on, the Islanders will want plenty of gamers to rediscover their scoring contact over the vacation break.
What must be on the Islanders’ Holiday Wish List?
Beyond including scoring, extra defensive depth would go a good distance towards serving to their probabilities of climbing again into the race when it comes to giving them some harm insurance coverage (and we all know GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t dropping by the wayside simply but).
But the largest factor on their wish listing each now and sooner or later is cap area. They don’t have it, they usually want it in a giant approach. The Isles have been pressured to bridge their younger stars to merely keep cap-compliant now, so it’s a longer-term concern. If they wish to add now, they should unencumber cap room first, and in the event that they wish to preserve their core intact, they should unencumber cap room. Accordingly, that’s going to be the largest wish within the coming weeks, months and years for the Isles.