New York Islanders Roster Comparison To 2015-2016 Playoff Team

By Matt O'Leary
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 27: John Tavares
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 27: John Tavares /
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new york islanders
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 08: Mathew Barzal /

If you look at both the opening night lines from 2015 to even the playoff lines it’s not real pretty. The Lee – Tavares – Strome line had very high expectations carrying over from the 2014-2015 season but flopped.

Lee scored just 15 goals and put up 36 points while Ryan Strome had a 28 point season (eight goals, 20 assists). Not to mention Strome spent a portion of the year in the AHL as well (Thanks Cappy).

The playoff top unit wasn’t so great either with Alan Quine on the left wing of John Tavares. Granted, I’m forever thankful for his Game 5 goal but he’s not a top line player and everyone knows that.

Bailey – Nielsen – Okposo is a pretty solid second line unit. Okposo put up 64 points, Nielsen had 52 points while winning over 50 percent of his faceoffs and Bailey had a very pre-2016-2017 Bailey like year with 32 points.

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The second line we saw in Game 6 with Kulemin isn’t so pretty but somehow the Isles managed with two bottom six forwards in their top six.

Brock Nelson, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin had decent expectations as well, Brock was coming off his first 40 point season and Grabo and Kulemin worked well together when healthy. The only issue was that Grabo couldn’t stay healthy.

Although to be fair, Prince – Nelson – Bernier doesn’t look so hot either.

Then there was the staple, the heartbeat of the Islanders Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck. That was probably the Islanders most consistent line. Not a lot of offensive production came from that unit, combining for 71 points, but they sure brought the energy.

Now, let’s compare the two.

The Islanders top unit is going to be worlds better in 2017-2018. Lee’s coming off a 34 goal season, John Tavares is John Tavares and Jordan Eberle‘s perennial 20+ goals is going to be a nice addition as well.

Just basing this off last years numbers for Lee, Tavares and Eberle they produced a total of 169 points. The revolving door of Tavares wingers in 2015-2016 couldn’t hold a candle to this top unit.

The most gaping hole is second line center for the current team without question. They have still yet to replace Frans Nielsen. This is where the current team takes the slight hit. Although a full season of Josh Ho-Sang should be pretty exciting stuff to watch.

The fourth line wasn’t the same last year without Matt Martin, but Jason Chimera, who was brought in as a cheaper replacement put up 20 goals. That was a significant upgrade over Martin, with all due respect to him.

Overall Verdict

The current forward group is better than the one of two years ago. Even with the second line center hole, this unit is much more productive. There’s a pretty solid chance that the entire top six puts up over 20 goals. That’s not too much of a stretch if everyone plays to their career numbers and Ho-Sang takes the strides we expect him to take.

Advantage: 2017-2018 Team