The New York Islanders signed Casey Cizikas to a five-year extension back in June. Here’s what the Islanders can expect from Cizikas production wise.
As we sit here in August as the summer rolls on, we can only twiddle our thumbs until the puck drops in October. Until then, I’m slowly making my way around the roster and giving out expectations for players in 2016.
Today we look at the center of my favorite line, Casey Cizikas.
The Pay Raise
The Islanders locked up fourth liner and penalty killer Casey Cizikas to a five-year $16.75 million contract. The contract raised some eyebrows as that may seem to be a high number for a fourth line player.
You could argue that it is too high of a number, but you would be mistaken to say that Cizikas doesn’t have value to this Islanders team.
The Islanders had a very good penalty kill unit last year that Cizikas was a part of. In order to continue to have a quality PK unit it was important to bring back Cizikas.
Some believed due to his raise that he would be asked to center the third line. His point production nearly doubled in 2015-2016 from 2014-2015 so I can see where this argument is coming from.
When it comes down to it I don’t expect Casey on the third line at all. That job will either go to Ryan Strome or maybe Mathew Barzal. Cizikas should be centering the fourth line, as we became accustomed to over the past few years.
The Expectation for 2016
Cizikas is not a big scorer, he had just eight goals last year. I expect similar numbers from Cizikas to what we saw last year. He might be able to sniff double digits in goals with the new addition of Jason Chimera who I expect will add more offense to the Islanders fourth line.
Cizikas doesn’t have to be an offensive force, that isn’t his role with this team. My fear is that due to the pay raise fans will be expecting him to score more. If he does have a year of single digit goals I think fans may foolishly get on his case for it.
On the fourth line Chimera and Cal Clutterbuck are the scorers. Although Matt Martin outscored Cizikas last year, you would have to think that Cizikas has more of an offensive presence than Martin does.
The Islanders dissembled the best fourth line in hockey when Martin went to Toronto, and I think Martin’s game will be missed to an extent. Although with the addition of Chimera, expect a more offensive minded fourth line.