If you listened to our podcast this week, you would have heard my citation on the output of most of the NY Islanders between this year and last year: possession game, shots on goal, and high danger chances. All three are tied together. If you have a better possession game, you are going to derive more shots. More shots and possession, the more high danger chances. Overall, it means: more goals, and more time in the offensive zone means less time in your own end. In other words: wins.
So to play off that a bit, let us now do a quick look at three specific stats compared to last season…
- First Assist per 60min (far more important than 2nd Assist, btw)
- Points per 60min
- Shots per 60min
Now let’s start to notice some big items.
Most of the Islanders are DOWN. Way down. The kind of down where we can see how the lack of a strong possession game has seeped both points and shots.
Can you imagine a team where TWO players are getting a higher Points/60 than John Tavares? Gives you an idea what kind of funk he is in. Especially when JT is actually near his Shots/60.
Frans Nielsen is having a great year. His use is up, and naturally, his scoring is up. Just shows that this UFA, if he hits the market, had a big opportunity to be a 2nd line center somewhere if he is just looking to cash in.
Kyle Okposo is close to last year, but he is not shooting enough. This can be seen in his lower stats in Shots/60.
Brock Nelson is up in Points/60, but also down in Shots/60.
Grabovski is up, but also below his S/60 of last season.
All three forwards would see a jump in their P/60 if they also were getting more S/60.
What Does This All Mean?
Well, it means this is not the team from the 1st half of last season. Nor is it the car wreck of the 2nd half of last season that backed into the playoffs (yet). The Possession Game was actually trending upward right before Johnny Boychuk and then Travis Hamonic went down. We talked about this in the IslesBeat podcast last week.
Despite injuries, the NY Islanders must continue that trend upward. Otherwise, if they close out this next month below .500, they will put themselves in a very precarious position when things heat up for the last leg.
Very quietly, Ryan Strome is starting to be the .5 points per game player we saw last season. Interestingly enough, that seemed to kick into gear once he was placed on Grabovski’s line. Still think Grabovski isn’t good? Look again to see who is up this season. Also recall how the Islanders possession game hiccuped once he was out longterm last season. Sometimes its not just about all the points.
So in short, the team needs to keep the trend, shoot more, create more high danger chances. This was the three items that all clicked together for their massive season start last year.
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