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New York Islanders: Analytics Based Optimal Line Combinations

By Matt O'Leary
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: Ryan Pulock
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: Ryan Pulock /
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If you’re a fan of analytics you’ll like this generated New York Islanders line combinations from Sean Tierney based off of advanced stats.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest analytics person, but I’m also not anti-analytics. I find it to be interesting and I was definitely intrigued by the Sean Tierney chart on the New York Islanders optimal lines.

Check out the Islanders lines:

The lines end up being:

Josh Bailey – John Tavares – Jordan Eberle

Anders Lee – Mathew Barzal – Josh Ho-Sang

Anthony Beauvillier – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck

Andrew Ladd – Brock Nelson – Shane Prince

The Good

We’ll start with what I like from this setup. That second line looks real solid. It makes the most sense to keep Ho-Sang on the second line especially with the Jordan Eberle addition. Adding Barzal and Lee to that could be deadly.

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That’s probably the best line it churned out. The top line has some decent qualities too to be fair. Josh Bailey put up 56 points playing on Tavares’ wing last year, plus adding Eberle to that can make that line very productive.

Also, I like keeping Cizikas and Clutterbuck together. Although I prefer them on the fourth line, they have shown to have good chemistry to work together and that can continue to be put on display with the addition of Beauvillier to that line.

The Bad

I really don’t like Brock Nelson centering the fourth line. I’m not the biggest Brock fan, but burying him that low is counterproductive in my opinion. Same goes for Andrew Ladd, he’ll likely find himself on a middle six line this year.

I’d also prefer to move Josh Bailey down to a middle six line. I think that role fits him better. Shane Prince shouldn’t be on the roster either.

My Line Combinations

I think I’d go something like this if I was making the lines:

Lee – Tavares – Eberle

Ladd – Nelson – Ho-Sang

Beauvillier – Barzal – Bailey

Chimera – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

I went back and forth with Nelson and Barzal. I think eventually Barzal is your number two center but I’d prefer not to put that pressure on him from the start, he can work his way up to it. Especially since he admitted to being star-struck in 2016.

I also want Lee’s 34 goals with John Tavares and Eberle to optimize scoring potential.

Next: Doyle Somerby Is Exploring His Options

Overall, I’m not a huge fan of the line combos that the advanced stats put together, and I doubt that’s what Doug Weight uses in 2017-2018. All that I’m hoping for is he doesn’t revive the Jack Capuano carousel of lines.

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