The New York Islanders defense doesn’t look like much on paper. But when you look at its productivity it was one of the better teams in the league in the 2016-17 NHL season.
In today’s NHL if the New York Islanders want any success they’ll not only need production from up and down the lineup. That includes from the blueline.
We all know the advantages of having a Brent Burns/Erik Karlsson/Victor Hedman type player chipping in goals. But there’s only three of those in the league. And neither of them play for the Islanders.
Does that make the Islanders blueline worse than those teams from a production standpoint? Nope. Not at all. The Islanders have a nicely balanced and productive defensive core.
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The Ol’ 1-2
The New York Islanders ranked ninth in the league based on production from the backend. With 168 points from defensemen, the Islanders were more productive that playoff teams like Ottawa, Montreal, Boston, Toronto and Columbus.TeamPointsNashville Predators
San Jose Sharks
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Outside of Brent Burns’ San Jose Sharks, Ottawa and Tampa, with their Norris trophy level defensemen finished just below the Islanders. Having one of those three would be outstanding to have, but it’s not necessary in order to have a productive blue line.Spreading the points around
Spreading the points around is the Islanders strength. They had five of the nine defensemen they used this season scored 20 or more points.
Side note. It feels odd to say they “used” nine defensemen. Because one of those is Ryan Pulock. Who didn’t even play a full game! He broke his foot after 3:57 of playing time.
Spreading the scoring around has allowed the Islanders to maintain an offensive flair no matter who’s on the ice defensively.
Not only do the Isles rank at the top of defensive production but they rank seventh in terms of production disparity with a 13.03 standard deviation. The spread from Nick Leddy‘s 46 points to Ryan Pulock’s zero is one of the lowest in the league.
Only some of the worst teams are better. Like Vancouver who hit an 8.01 standard deviation. But that’s not hard to do when your top producer on the blue line scored 23 points.
Going into 2017-18 the Islanders will be missing Travis Hamonic from the previous years’ setup. His 14 points should be easily made up by Ryan Pulock. Assuming, of course, he stays healthy.
The New York Islanders have a nicely balanced blue line from a production standpoint. And with the addition of Ryan Pulock, it should be even better. And that’s assuming we get the same from Calvin de Haan, who should have a better 2017-18.