New York Islanders Five Keys to the 2017-18 NHL Season
The New York Islanders 2017-18 season is only one month away. This is a huge year for the blue and orange. There are five keys to the upcoming season for the Islanders.
Granted it’s critical the New York Islanders avoid any major injury to their key players on the roster. Of course, this is vital for all teams.
There are five key areas in question for the Isles this season. If the Isles can do well in these areas, it will most likely translate to a very special season.
The last couple of seasons the Isles power play at best has been maddeningly inconsistent. Last year it was just down right awful, as it finished 28th in the league rankings.
New York Islanders
Adjustments need to be made both in philosophy and personnel. Expect newly acquired Jordan Eberle to be a mainstay on the power-play unit.
Youngsters Ryan Pulock with his booming slap shot and Mathew Barzal with his play-making skills could make a huge difference for the Isles and turn the power play into a monster for other teams to deal with.
Overtime – Shootout
Clearly, the Isles need to improve their play in both overtime and the shootout. The Isles went 8-12 last year when games needed more than 60 minutes.
Remember the Islanders missed the playoffs by just one point.
During the three on three overtime format, the Isles have to stop getting caught on long shifts, as well as missing the net as much as they do. These errors have resulted in losses due to odd-man rushes that have gone the other way.
One of the area’s the Isles felt the loss of Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo last year was the shootout. Youngsters Josh Ho-Sang and Barzal could help greatly in this area.
When Doug Weight took over as head coach in mid-January last season, one of his first player sit down’s was with Nick Leddy. He told Leddy he is capable of playing to a higher level.
Leddy raised his game under Weight putting up 25 points in 40 games with a plus four rating. Leddy finished the year with 46 points.
Now the kid from Eden Prairie, Minnesota needs to take his game up another notch. Leddy’s goal this season should be when the hockey season is over, people around the league view him as a #1 defenseman.
Weight & the Kids
Under Weight, both Anthony Beauvillier and Ho-Sang played well. Both youngsters took a positive step in their development. A big criticism of Jack Capuano was how the youngsters developed under his reign.
Developing the youngsters has to continue now and moving forward under Weight’s watch. It must continue with Beauvillier and Ho-Sang, as well as with Pulock, Barzal, and Adam Pelech this season.
What killed the Isles last season was a terrible start. They went 6-10-4 in the first 20 games of the season. This why the team missed the playoffs.
This October the Isles need to hit the ground running. The Isles play 12 games in October with seven of them on the road. The Isles do a west coast swing to Anaheim, San Jose, and LA right at the beginning of October. They also have tough road games in Columbus, Minnesota, Nashville, and the Garden.
It’s not an easy start but a good beginning is critical.
Next: 5 Things we Learned About the Isles this Off-Season
There is no reason why the Isles can’t have a big year. If they can put a check mark against these five area’s it will mean a highly successful season for the Islanders.