The New York Islanders are scoring like never before. In fact, they’re on pace to do something they haven’t done in exactly 30 years.
The New York Islanders top-six has been more productive than anyone could have asked for. Before the season started second line center seemed like a huge hole, and there were calls to land Matt Duchene.
Garth Snow and company never did land Duchene, but they did give Mathew Barzal a shot to thrive on the second line at just 20-years old.
In 50 games Barzal has 51 points. The fact that Barzal has 16 goals and 35 assists at the All-Star break is still mind-boggling to me. As someone who has been extremely high on Barzal as a prospect even I didn’t expect this kind of production right away as a rookie.
He’s in the Calder conversation and is an amazing centerpiece of the Isles second unit. As for the top line, it’s still the John Tavares and Josh Bailey show.
Josh Bailey is still producing at more than a point per game pace. He missed four games due to injury and he’s still got 54 points which is wild. As for J.T. he’s got 57 points playing in all 50 games so far for the blue and orange.
The Islanders currently have three players who are on a point per game or higher scoring pace. That’s unheard of in today’s game, and it would be a major accomplishment if they kept this up.
It got me thinking when was the last time the New York Islanders had three players finish the season at a point per game pace.
The answer, the 1987-1988 season. Pat Lafontaine had 92 points in 75 games, Bryan Trottier had 82 in 77 games and Mikko Makela had 76 points in 73 games. You have to go back to 1980’s hockey when people were scoring like it was going out of style for the last time this has happened in franchise history.
If you want to be picky and point out that Makela had less than 80 points, even though he still produced at just over a point per game pace for himself, we’d have to go back to 1984-1985 when the Islanders had Mike Bossy with 117 points, Brent Sutter with 102 and John Tonelli with 100 points on the year.
If Barzal, Bailey and Tavares continue their pace here’s how they’ll end up. Tavares will end the year with 93 points, Bailey will end the year with 92 and Barzal in his rookie year will have 84 points.
Again this is something the Islanders haven’t done in 30 years. The Islanders have something special here and if they miss out on the playoffs it’s a golden opportunity wasted.
This type of offense comes around once in a generation, apparently, every 30 years. The way the game’s trending having three players over a point per game pace is extremely rare.