The New York Islanders struggled mightily on the power play in 2016-2017, but here are two reasons why they’ll be better this year.
The power play was not kind to the New York Islanders last year. They were at the bottom of the league in every important power play statistic for the 2016-2017 season.
The Isles were 28th in the league with 35 power play goals, they were 22nd in the league with 234 power play opportunities and their 15 percent power play percentage was “good” enough for 28th in the league. The league average for power play percentage was 19.12 percent according to Sporting Charts for what it’s worth.
So clearly the team could use some assistance on the power play. They hired Scott Gomez to the coaching staff and I said should be able to help the team improve their numbers with the man advantage.
There’s also two players in mind, who played a combined one game for the team last year, that will help improve the power play.
This one’s a given, with Travis Hamonic now in Calgary Pulock will find himself in the lineup consistently, and likely in the Isles top-four on defense paired with Calvin de Haan. We saw a small preview of what Pulock can do on the power play in the 2016 playoffs.
While buried in Bridgeport Pulock put up an impressive 46 points (15 goals, 31 assists) in 55 games. Five of his goals came on the power play. For perspective, the Isles top power play scorers were Anders Lee with nine goals and John Tavares with seven then there was Josh Bailey with three.
So clearly after the Isles top two scorers from last year, there’s a significant drop-off. Pulock should get tons of time on the power play if the Isles want to improve their embarrassing power play statistics.
Just have Pulock on the point and keep feeding him so he can rip 100 mile per hour slappers at opposing netminders all day. One of them is bound to go in after a while right?
Over the last four years, Jordan Eberle has averaged six power play goals a year. His highest power play goal total came back in his best production year of 2011-2012 when he netted 10 on the man advantage.
If Eberle gets his average number over the last four years that’s already an improvement over last year.
The Islanders are hoping that Eberle and Tavares can rekindle their chemistry from international play. The two looked to play rather well together on the same line for Team Canada, you have to assume that it transitions to the Islanders as well.
Besides adding these two who can both bring a new dynamic to the power play, they should probably stop having Nick Leddy carry the puck into the zone just to drop it off at the blue line for a turnover.
The goal is to have the trailing player get it with momentum and head towards the net. It never works, that’s why the Isles power play was so 28th in the league last year. The best bet, like I mentioned earlier is for players like John Tavares just do his thing or feed Pulock and hope he either beats the goalie or someone up front, like Lee, can bang home a rebound.
If the Isles follow this concept, their numbers should increase. I doubt they will have a top 10 power play unit this year but to expect them to be at least league average shouldn’t be too much to ask.