New York Islanders: The Best 2017-2018 Overtime Unit


Who would be your three choices on the New York Islanders to head out as the opening unit of overtime. It should carry over from the end of 2017.

Last year the New York Islanders had 12 overtime or shootout losses which was two more than the league average of 10. So what can the team do to improve their struggles in overtime in beyond?

First of all eight of the 12 losses came under Jack Capuano. It was almost unrealistic how bad the Isles were under Cappy during overtime or just late in games in general last year.

Often times during the three on three overtime period the Isles would run two defenseman out there at the same time. This ultra-conservative style didn’t pay off, so when Doug Weight took over he changed up the approach.

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The lineup that looked the best out there was John Tavares – Josh Ho-Sang – Nick Leddy. There’s a variety of reasons why this lineup makes the most sense for Weight to keep throwing out there

Speed, lots of speed

In today’s NHL you need to be quick. Look at the Pittsburgh Penguins they are a smart, fast team, one of the many reasons they’ve won back to back Stanley Cup Championships. The combination of Tavares Ho-Sang and Leddy is arguably the Isles fastest lineup.

It’s certainly the most dynamic. Tavares is the best player on the team, everyone knows this, so you have to have your best player on the ice in this situation. The same goes for Nick Leddy, he’s the Islanders best all around defenseman.

The benefit of having Leddy out on the ice for overtime is he isn’t afraid to handle the puck and to take it into the offensive zone, it’s one of his strengths.

Then you have Ho-Sang. The perfect way to describe Ho-Sang is electric, and adding that electricity with the talent of Tavares and the playmaking ability of Leddy is a match made in heaven.

Here’s a perfect example of what Ho-Sang can do with space:

Possession and Corsi

Is Matt O’Leary seriously about to talk Corsi right now? Mitch Anderson would be so proud. Yes, possession is a huge aspect of the game. The more you possess the puck the more chances you have to get it into your offensive zone and in theory, you score more.

Last year John Tavares was the team leader in CF% with 52.9. In fourth, was Josh Ho-Sang with a 52.5 CF%. The only one in this combination who had a CF% under 50 percent was Leddy who had a 47.8 CF%.

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This stat matters more so for the other two. When you have the forward combination of Ho-Sang and Tavares you could get away with Leddy not having the best possession numbers.

For instance, Scott Mayfield and Johnny Boychuk were the leading possession defenders, but it wouldn’t make sense to use either of the two in an OT situation just based on their playing style.

Both are more physical players, which doesn’t have as much of an impact with all the open ice during the three on three. That’s why it makes more sense to use the quicker combination of Tavares – Ho-Sang – Leddy.

Next: Potential Barzal Outcomes

Obviously, the team can’t just throw those three out there the entire time. Maybe as a second unit, Barzal, Bailey and de Haan for his shot blocking ability? That can be a story for another day becuase I think we found at least one competent combination.