The Third Line Doesn’t Produce
In 2017-18 the New York Islanders only strength was their ability to score goals. They had the seventh-ranked offense in the entirety of the NHL last season. Thanks to their incredibly productive top two lines. The first line combined for 95 goals while line two put up 68 goals.
On nights when both the first and second lines weren’t producing the Islanders third line couldn’t be counted on to provide any depth offense. A line centered around Andrew Ladd and Brock Nelson generated very little offense.
That third line this season is likely going to be Leo Komarov, Valtteri Filppula, and Tom Kuhnhackl. If a 20 goal scorer in Brock Nelson and a $5.5 million player in Andrew Ladd couldn’t get it done, what faith should there be in Komarov, Filppula, and Kuhnhackl? None.
And it’s not like the New York Islanders still have that strength down the middle from last season (more on that later). Brock Nelson is now the Islanders second line center. Recreating that high powered offense from 2017-18 isn’t likely. Meaning the Islanders are going to need some depth production from that third line.
That third line will likely be unproductive and ineffective in terms of being “tough to play against”. The underlying analytics on all three of Filppula, Kuhnhackl, Komarov shows a group of players that routinely get outplayed.
An unproductive and ineffective third line could be too much for an Islanders team that is already going to struggle in 2018-19.