Editorials

New York Islanders Rookie Core Shouldn’t be Saviors

By Christopher Lizza
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Mathew Barzal
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Mathew Barzal /
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The 2017-18 New York Islanders season is upon us. After a strong injury-free training camp the Isles are ready to lace up for the regular season. Keep in mind the Isles kids shouldn’t be counted on to be saviors this season.

There is a lot of excitement and potential drama surrounding the New York Islanders. The excitement comes from the skill that many of their youngsters possess. And with that comes the potential for drama if they don’t live up to those lofty expectations.

So to quote Larry David let’s curb the enthusiasm.

The three young forwards in Mathew Barzal, Josh Ho-Sang, and Anthony Beauvillier can provide the Isles with speed, offensive skill, secondary scoring, and help what was last year’s 28th ranked power-play in the league.

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Both Barzal and Ho-Sang enter the season as rookies. While contributing offensively is important it’s critical that both rookies play a solid two-way game. Playing well in the defensive zone is just as important as creating offensive chances.

In terms of the blue line, we know what both Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield can bring if they play to their potential. That is sound defensive play with some physicality as well.

Ryan Pulock is the wild-card of the group. Everyone knows of his offensive prowess, but can he be a solid defender in the NHL? If the answer to that question is yes, then the Isles have a heck of a player.

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Think Cautiously

It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of these kids. All of them are very talented. Having said that remember they are kids.

Their jobs this season is to contribute to the team. They should not be counted on to be the saviors this season.

Moving forward there is a strong chance all of these kids will be part of the Isles core. For this season, however, John Tavares, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Nick Leddy, and Johnny Boychuk have to lead and they are the one’s that should be driving the bus.

Yes, Barzal and Pulock can help the power-play. They shouldn’t be asked to save it.

No one should expect Ho-Sang to score 30 goals this season. He can and should be an excellent source for secondary scoring. That’s what we should expect from him. Anything more is gravy.

Pelech and Mayfield should be looked upon as solid third-pairing defenseman. They can succeed in that role. They shouldn’t be asked to do more than that.

Of course, everyone should be excited about these kids but their roles should not be carrying the team.

Next: Isles Good Vibes & Confidence

Fans of the blue and orange should be excited. Having a special season is very realistic for this team. Just don’t expect the kids to be saviors in year one.

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