New York Islanders New Pro-Possession Coaching Strategy

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Thomas Hickey
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Thomas Hickey /

The New York Islanders have been bottom tier in terms of Corsi-Against for a while now. And it seems that coach Doug Weight will do his best to address it this season.

Over the last three seasons, the New York Islanders have ranked near the bottom in terms of Corsi-Against. That in-and-of-itself shouldn’t come as a surprise. We’ve all watched the Islanders get outshot most nights.

Now it seems that the coaching staff is looking to actively change that. Which is shocking that it took so long to realize. As far as binary operations go in hockey shots for and against seem like the most basic.

Shots for are good. Thus, shots against are bad.

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Suppressing Shots Against

According to Newsday’s Arthur Staple, New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight indicated that the Isles would be using a new approach on the defensive side of the game.

"Weight and his staff have been coaching the Islanders’ defensemen to clear sight lines for the goaltenders rather than try to be a second netminder. Weight also wants his forwards to be aggressive at the points rather than keeping a tighter defensive structure. It’s all in the name of reducing errant deflections and screened shots, while also trying to reduce puck possession for opposing teams in the defensive zone."

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Looking at the Isles last three season you can see why this needs approaching. Last season they finished sixth worst, in 2015-16 21st worst, and then 52nd  in 2014-15 in terms of Corsi-Against. That’s for all teams across those three seasons.

That’s how bad it’s been getting for the Islanders. Year-over-year they’ve been letting other teams dictate play. Finally this season it might just be over. Maybe.

We’ve all been well versed on the positives of possession based hockey. Heck, this piece starts off by stating shots for are good and shots against are bad. Having control of the puck, measured for now by Corsi can win you games. The Hockey News even equates good possession with a very good correlation to winning the Stanley Cup.

Training camp isn’t going to be the best evaluator for this new tactic. Just look at the Isles first game against the Rangers. They were significantly outshot 42-17.

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So it remains to be seen if Weight’s plan will actually work or not. But any attempt has to be a positive for the Isles. So keep an eye on that shot clock this season.