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Analysis

New York Islanders Top Line Is Underrated And Undervalued

Feb 6, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates after scoring in the third period with teammate center Anders Lee (27) during the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings defeated the Islanders 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 6, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates after scoring in the third period with teammate center Anders Lee (27) during the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings defeated the Islanders 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports
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There are always cries from fans that the New York Islanders need a winger for their captain. Though another player is necessary, it isn’t for the top line.

The rally cry of the New York Islanders fan is “Get John Tavares a legit winger!” I know this because I’ve been leading that charge forever. Although, what if I told you that the Isles current setup is a lot better than we think.

Anders Lee, John Tavares and Josh Bailey make up the Islanders first line. All three of them are having fantastic years.

John Tavares is John Tavares we know what we’re going to get out of him, but Bailey and Lee are in the midsts of career years. Bailey has 39 points through 56 games this year. His previous career high was 41 points which he will ultimately smash unless he gets injured.

More: The Sound Tigers Are Red Hot

Anders Lee had a solid rookie campaign two years ago putting up 25 goals. Through 55 games this year he’s just three goals shy of that mark.

What They’re On Pace For

John Tavares – 29 goals 41 assists (70 points)

Josh Bailey – 16 goals 41 assists (57 points)

Anders Lee – 32 goals 20 assists (52 points)

If the Islanders top unit can continue to put up the same numbers through the remainder of the season their stats would look pretty good by years end. 70 points for Tavares would be the same as last year for him, which is becoming a norm for him.

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The most shocking might be Josh Bailey absolutely shattering his previous points record. Nearly 60 points from Bailey would be fantastic, far exceeding expectations. No matter your previous feelings on Bailey you have to be happy with the production he’s given the Islanders this year.

Then there’s Anders Lee, 32 goals from the big guy would be huge for the Islanders. Just park him in front of the net and let him deflect shots. It’s a working and proven formula for success for him.

These three guys have good chemistry together and frankly, it’s been working for the Islanders. here’s how they match up to the defending champions, and Bleacher Report’s top-ranked first line for the 2015-2016 season.

Penguins 2015-2016 Top Line Production

Chris Kunitz – 17 goals 23 assists (40 points)

Sidney Crosby – 36 goals 49 assists (85 points)

Patric Hornqvist – 22 goals 29 assists (51 points)

This is what the defending champs top line looked like last year. The Islanders current setup is on pace to score more goals and more points than the  Kunitz – Crosby – Hornqvist line of 2015-2016. This Penguins unit had 75 goals and 176 points combined.

The Islanders top unit this year is on pace for 77 goals and 179 points.

This is not to say that the Islanders don’t need to make a move. They absolutely do and should make a move. Although, if it’s for someone like Matt Duchene I would use him as my second line center instead of breaking up the Islanders top line.

Next: Early February Face Off Review

There’s an old saying “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Right now the combination of Lee, Tavares and Bailey is working numbers. Until it stops working don’t mess with it.

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