Editorials

New York Islanders Glaring Hole on Defense

By Charles Baldi
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 03: Dennis Seidenberg
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 03: Dennis Seidenberg /
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The New York Islanders are off to a fast start. They have accumulated 32 points in their first 24 games and currently sit second in the Metro. Despite the start, the team has a major hole in its lineup on defense and it’s one that needs to be addressed immediately.

Make no mistake about it, the New York Islanders are an offensive juggernaut. They are currently third in the league in goals scored, lead the league in the most 4+ goal games, and have a +13 goal differential.

This is clearly a team that rides its offense every night but can they keep this up over the course of the season?

The answer could be yes but who knows. Every team needs balance and while the Isles have been so good offensively, they’ve been subpar defensively. While the team has scored in bunches, they have also given up their fair share of goals. Through 24 games, they have given up 76 goals which puts them in the bottom half of the league in that category. An argument could be made about the goaltending, but I believe the reason behind it is the hole on the second defense pair.

More from Eyes On Isles

We all remember our good friend Travis Hamonic, right? When he was traded over the summer, his role was supposed to be essentially given to Ryan Pulock or Adam Pelech. However, through the first quarter of the season, that has not been the case at all. The defensive pairs have been sort of a revolving door with the only consistency being the top pair of Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Calvin de Haan as been a nice anchor for the second pairing but he needs a more steady partner.

Pulock, Pelech, Scott Mayfield, Thomas Hickey, and Dennis Seidenberg have been in a rotation in making up the rest of the Isles blue line. Pelech has seen the most time on the second pair but has been up and down.  I believe Pelech is a good defenseman with a lot of upside but we have yet to see it on a consistent basis. The same could be said about Pulock and Mayfield as well. Hickey is solid third pair guy and Seidenberg is what he is at this stage of his career.

The Solution

The lack of consistent play has really hurt the Islanders in their own zone. With no one able to fill the role, it’s time for Garth Snow to look outside of the organization and get a top 4 defenseman. Snow has a lot of trade chips at his disposal to either make a move for a rental, a Mike Green, or someone with term left such as Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Not only could someone like Green or OEL help the Islanders top 4, but they could also be extremely valuable on the second power-play unit as well.

Next: New York Islanders: Analyzing Oliver Ekman-Larsson Trade Rumor

The Metropolitan Division is going to be a dogfight until the last day of the season. It’s time for the Islanders to load up and get ready to make a run. Earlier today, the Devils traded for Sami Vatanen, someone who would’ve been a great fit for the Islanders. It’s time for Snow to stop watching the competition get better and go out and put this team over the top.

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