The New York Islanders defensive core needs to be better in the 2017-2018 season. The 2016-2017 version just wasn’t good enough.
There were many factors as to why the New York Islanders missed the playoffs in 2016-2017. The slow start, poor coaching, guys cold at the same time, injuries, etc. Although the one that stands out most is the defensive lapses. Arthur Staple investigated the defensive unit of the Isles.
The first alarming statistic mentioned was that the team let up 2.9 goals per game which was “good enough” for eighth most in the NHL. With the expansion draft coming up he mentioned the fact the Isles may lose a regular defenseman or two.
In our mock draft we had Vegas selecting Calvin de Haan. It seems likely that CDH, Travis Hamonic or Thomas Hickey will be selected by the Golden Knights come June. That means with one of the regulars gone and Ryan Pulock waiting in the wings it’s a safe bet the Isles blue line will look a bit different.
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Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy and Ryan Pulock should be guarantees for next year. The other three can be any combination of Travis Hamonic, Calvin de Haan, Thomas Hickey, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield.
No matter who it ends up being there’s no question that they have to have a much improved year. Having the eighth worst goals per game against won’t get this team back into the playoffs.
They are going to need a bounce back year from Hamonic, a healthy Boychuk, a full year of 2016-2017 second half Leddy and the bottom pairs need to be more consistent. And if Ryan Pulock isn’t on the roster I give Islanders fans permission to riot.
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