Editorials

New York Islanders Getting Top Tier Goaltending This Season

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 24: Robin Lehner #40 of the New York Islanders makes a third period save against the Florida Panthers at the Barclays Center on October 24, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 24: Robin Lehner #40 of the New York Islanders makes a third period save against the Florida Panthers at the Barclays Center on October 24, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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We all know about the New York Islanders defensive issues last season. But goaltending was just as horrendous. So far this season, that isn’t the case at all.

The New York Islanders defensive issues from last season were well documented. Everyone knows that the blueline was the worst in the NHL in 2017-18. The defensive system that Doug Weight had installed just flat out didn’t work.

Defensemen were often out of position, they left huge gaps in the defensive zone, and had no idea who to pick up. It was pure chaos.

All of this of course, played out on a nightly basis in front of Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss. And they suffered for it. Both goalies would finish with a goals-against-average above 3.00 and a save percentage that was below NHL average.

Through ten games in the 2018-19 season that isn’t the case for the New York Islanders.

Before and After

As a team, the New York Islanders are getting a 0.922SV% good for fourth in the league at the moment. That’s a far contrast to the 0.900SV% they got from their shot stoppers last season (ranking them 28th out of 31).

It’s incredible what a proper system can do for a goaltender. Look at Greiss here with the Islanders and Jaroslav Halak out with the Bruins. In six games played with the Bruins, Halak sports a 1.43GAA and a 0.945SV% with two shutouts.

We often hear that a coach is only as good as the guy between the pipes. But the guy between the pipes is only as good as the system the coach creates.

We can see the affect of coaching on both Lehner and Greiss early on. While their low and medium danger save percentages are where you’d expect them to be, their high danger save percentages are well above where they were last year.

*Stats from Corsica.hockey

With a more efficient system in front of them both Greiss and Lehner have been able to flourish for the Islanders.

It’s too early to say that these numbers will last for the entire season. But what it does is give Barry Trotz on easy win as he convinces the players that his system works.

Last year the New York Islanders just needed a save from their goalies. How many times did we see an easy goal go in last season? Almost every other game it seemed like.

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The Islanders don’t have the two greatest goalkeepers in the league, but what they do have are two effective shot stoppers and they’ve surrounded them with a quality coach that has implemented a system that compliments them and they also have a Director of Goaltending in Mitch Korn that knows how to get the best out of his goalies.

It’s all coming together for the Isles in nets. Hopefully, it lasts.

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