New York Islanders Report Card – March 2021

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If there was one occasion that might outline the month of March for the New York Islanders, it must be the second that Anders Lee went down with a torn ACL within the recreation in opposition to the New Jersey Devils. There have been plenty of massive moments previously month of video games, however when the captain was sidelined with a season-ending harm, the roster was significantly affected.

The grades for the previous month mirror a workforce that was unbeatable to start out the month, as a part of a nine-game profitable streak, that additionally needed to continuously alter their lineup to accidents and COVID protocols (Noah Dobson’s absence being probably the most distinguished). The Islanders nonetheless boast the most effective groups and report within the MassMutual East Division and the NHL, and the previous month mirrored the workforce’s means to proceed to win video games regardless of the obstacles.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau: A

Jean-Gabriel Pageau has continued to offer the Islanders with scoring depth because the third-line scorer is among the many workforce leaders in objectives with 13 on the season so far. Whereas he was quiet by way of discovering the again of the online, with solely three objectives previously month, the Islanders may nonetheless depend on the 28-year-old heart to offer offensive manufacturing, with eight assists previously month of motion.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau of the New York Islanders battles Travis Boyd and Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. (Picture by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI through Getty Photographs)

The Islanders have gotten greater than sufficient worth since buying the third-line heart over a 12 months in the past from the Senators and the hope is that the sturdy play from the 28-year-old scorer continues because the workforce enters the house stretch of the season.

Brock Nelson: A

Brock Nelson has helped fill the void of Lee’s absence as a relentless second-line scorer for the Islanders. Within the month of March, Nelson scored six objectives previously month, together with 5 in 4 video games. Whereas he trailed off within the latter half of the month, the workforce was nonetheless capable of finding offensive manufacturing because the 29-year-old ahead continued to be an offensive presence and dish out three assists within the ultimate 5 video games of March to cap off a robust total month.

Oliver Wahlstrom: A

Oliver Wahlstrom has not solely been the most effective younger skaters on the Islanders, however he has additionally been the most effective younger skaters within the NHL this season. Taking part in on the second or third line typically, he scored six objectives within the month of March and was a relentless scoring menace, whether or not it was skating previous the protection or sniping a shot previous the goaltender with nice accuracy. The 20-year-old ahead goes to be a pivotal a part of the Islanders workforce not simply shifting ahead on this season, however within the years to return.

Scott Mayfield – Nick Leddy: A-

The Islanders protection has continued to show that it is without doubt one of the greatest models within the NHL, and the previous month was no exception because the unit not solely confirmed nice play of their high two pairings, but additionally on the again finish with Noah Dobson out for the second half of the month’s video games. The pairing of Scott Mayfield and Nick Leddy is usually thought to be the more severe pairing from a defensive perspective and understandably so. Nevertheless, the previous month noticed each gamers impress on the defensive facet and proceed to make their mark on the offensive finish.

Nick Leddy New York Islanders
Nick Leddy, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Mayfield has led the Islanders in blocked photographs this season with 74 and has continuously been capable of break up scoring probabilities for opponents whereas creating offense the opposite means. Leddy, in the meantime, is thought for his means to create from the purpose and is without doubt one of the workforce’s greatest offensive defensemen — a team-leading 24 assists are placing him on tempo for a profession 12 months.

Mathew Barzal – Jordan Eberle: B+

Each Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle could be simply linked to the Lee harm, as each skaters have seen their standard manufacturing dwindle previously month. Barzal and Eberle are inclined to feed off their very own playmaking means with the assistance of Lee’s passing and goal-scoring instincts. With the captain out of the lineup, each skaters have did not be as dominant on offense as standard, with the duo solely scoring 5 objectives within the final month.

Mathew Barzal New York Islanders
Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Barzal had a hat trick within the April 1 recreation in opposition to the Washington Capitals and Eberle discovered the again of the online twice within the eight-goal victory as properly, indicating that the highest line has discovered their offensive rhythm once more. The void in manufacturing, nonetheless, was a reminder of the significance of a high scorer and extra importantly, confirmed the necessity for the Islanders to attempt to discover a skater that may assist create scoring alternatives on the highest line to enhance the expertise already there.

Adam Pelech – Ryan Pulock: B+

The highest pairing for the Islanders protection has as soon as once more supplied the workforce with a terrific total unit, arguably the most effective defenses within the NHL. The duo has mixed for five.3 defensive level shares and 116 blocked photographs. Extra importantly, they’re continuously in place, greater than able to creating turnovers within the defensive zone, and get rid of rushes from the blue line.

Ryan Pulock New York Islanders
Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Along with the duo’s sturdy play defensively, Pelech and Pulock have continued to play properly on the offensive finish as properly, combining for eight assists previously month. Whereas not being nice on the offensive finish per se, the duo having the ability to ship pucks to the online has been crucial for an offense that hasn’t performed as properly since shedding Lee.

Anthony Beauvillier: B+

Anthony Beauvillier has actually emerged as one of many Islanders’ high scorers over the previous month. With the workforce looking for second- and third-line scorers, he was capable of rating a purpose in 4 straight video games on the finish of the month serving to the workforce win three important video games within the course of. The 23-year-old scorer is constant to play higher with every recreation and offers the Islanders with a youthful group of scorers, which ought to assist the workforce shifting ahead.

Semyon Varlamov – Ilya Sorokin: B

The Islanders have continued to get good play from their goaltending duo in Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin. The necessary observe from the previous month has been the emergence of Sorokin, who has not solely began to separate begins with Varlamov, however has been a viable starter for the Islanders, who can now flip to 2 goaltenders on any given evening. The 25-year-old goaltender did give up three objectives in a win in opposition to the Devils and 4 objectives in a defeat in opposition to the Pittsburgh Penguins (arguably his worst begin of the season), however apart from that has been nice within the internet.

Ilya Sorokin New York Islanders
Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Varlamov, in the meantime, has continued to be a wall within the purpose. Whereas the 32-year-old goaltender had a tough patch the place he allowed 11 objectives in three begins in the course of the month and the dialog of him profitable the Vezina Trophy has lengthy since been discarded, the Islanders can nonetheless depend on their beginning goaltender to offer the workforce with nice efficiency the place he probably shuts out most of the opponents.

Sebastian Aho: B-

Sebastian Aho solely performed three video games this previous month as a part of the third pairing for the Islanders defensively with Dobson lacking a major variety of video games. Nevertheless, within the quick period of time that Aho was there, his affect was clearly felt and he helped fill the void left on the Islanders’ again finish, whereas additionally netting a purpose and an help within the course of. Whereas two of the three video games that Aho performed in resulted in losses, his skating means and defensive enchancment must be saved in thoughts for the teaching employees and the entrance workplace shifting ahead.

Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck: C+

Often called the “Identification Line” for the Islanders, the fourth line has proven that, when they’re clicking, they’ll present a robust scoring presence and assist win loads of video games because of this. Sadly, when the fourth line fails to ascertain a scoring presence and doesn’t create alternatives, the shift turns into a legal responsibility. The road mixed for 9 objectives the previous month and whereas the three skaters don’t obtain a lot time on the ice (which makes the quantity extra spectacular), they had been additionally affected by the Lee harm, solely scoring three objectives because the roster shakeup. The fourth line was capable of benefit from the simple schedule in the beginning of the month, but additionally haven’t discovered the identical alternatives with opponents not fearing the highest line as they used to.

Andy Greene: C

Andy Greene has been a dependable veteran defenseman that has continued to play properly for the Islanders protection, and extra importantly has had the accountability of taking part in alongside numerous defensemen that had been thrown into the hearth due to Dobson’s time on the COVID-19 listing. Greene continues to show that he nonetheless has the capabilities of being a very good defenseman, boasting 2.2 defensive level shares and 67 blocked photographs on the season.

Andy Greene New York Islanders
Andy Greene, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Nevertheless, it has been clear in watching the 38-year-old defenseman that he has misplaced a step and could be seen outskated by his opponents. Likewise, he could be seen on the ice within the incorrect place for a purpose being scored, not due to instincts moderately he’s simply not having the ability to make the performs he used to. As well as, whereas defensemen shouldn’t be measured by their defensive capabilities, Greene has solely assisted one three objectives this season and didn’t report some extent within the month of March. It’s clear that the veteran is a pure defenseman who provides worth to the workforce and shall be essential for the Islanders shifting ahead.

Thomas Hickey: C

Thomas Hickey performed for the primary time this previous month. Whereas he has solely performed 5 video games for the Islanders, he was capable of assist fill the void and proved that he may hold the puck out of the online within the time he was beginning. The 31-year-old defensemen performed properly on the defensive finish, serving to the workforce win three video games in his time there and likewise netted two assists within the course of. Whereas it’s unlikely the late-pairing defenseman goes to be a part of the workforce within the ultimate stretch of the season, it was reassuring to see how the Islanders had been capable of show their depth, particularly on protection.

Josh Bailey: C-

Josh Bailey has been one of many extra disappointing gamers for the Islanders this season. Failing to generate a lot offense on the second or third line, the 31-year-old skater solely scored three objectives previously month. Regardless of having 18 assists on the season, he’s forcing the Islanders teaching employees to continuously seek for the fitting skaters to play on the identical shift as him. Bailey persevering with to battle has actually value the workforce in latest video games, and can finally harm shifting ahead because the offense wants to seek out scoring in all their traces. Whereas they’ve for almost all of the season, the upcoming stretch goes to be all of the extra necessary for there to be scoring depth.

Michael Dal Colle – Leo Komarov: C-

All through the season, it has turn into clear for Barry Trotz that each Leo Komarov and Michael Dal Colle are capable of present a spark within the jiffy that they’re each on the ice. Neither skater is averaging greater than 13 minutes on the ice per recreation and they’re each rotated for different skaters like Kieffer Bellows or Ross Johnston in that depth position.

Leo Komarov New York Islanders
Leo Komarov, New York Islanders (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Komarov has but to attain on the season, and whereas he has 4 assists, the 34-year-old skater is usually relied upon to easily strengthen his line with an enormous hit or a scoring alternative, moderately than be a scoring presence himself. Dal Colle, in the meantime, remains to be discovering a solution to make his mark for the Islanders and the 20-year-old ahead is creating into a possible scoring menace. Sadly for him, a lower-body harm ended his month a couple of video games early and because of this, he couldn’t proceed to seek out any rhythm for the workforce — a real disgrace since he scored his first purpose of the season within the recreation in opposition to the Philadelphia Flyers on March 18.

What to Watch Out for in April

The ultimate full month of the common season is already proving to be a major and profitable month for the Islanders so far. The workforce has began a important stretch with two video games in opposition to the Capitals, who’re neck and neck for the highest report within the MassMutual East Division, and received each video games in two utterly totally different manners (an 8-4 scoring spree on April 1 and a 1-0 hard-hitting recreation on April 5).

The Islanders entrance workplace is properly conscious of the void left by their captain being on long-term injured reserve and will probably be necessary to see who, if anybody, goes to be acquired on the commerce deadline. Evidently, the final full month of motion goes to be nice to look at with a workforce that appears poised to probably make a deep run within the Stanley Cup Playoffs.





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