New York Islanders Round Table: Quarter Season Grade
Brian Wagner| Grade: B+
Heavy coaching and defensive scheme have led to a miraculous top ten team in goals against per game, an even goal differential and a massive penalty kill improvement.
Perhaps even more miraculous has been what they’ve done with Brock Nelson. He is on pace for his best season as a pro and is doing it on both ends of the ice.
The bottom six, notably the new players brought in, have brought stability, accountability and leadership, and have been a big part of the strong start.
The Korn/Greco combo have worked wonders, and the goaltending has been without question the brightest spot on the team.
On defense, Scott Mayfield has taken a step forward and Hickey and Boychuk have been dependable.
For a team overachieving it’s hard to focus on the bad, but overall talent management has proven to be too much for Barry Trotz so far.
He can’t seem to figure out the top six or young talent. He is working wonders with role players but hasn’t found a handle for how to get the most out of top offensive talent.
The coaches simply don’t know what to do with Mat Barzal. His points are not far off pace but the lack of confidence from the coaches is evident, and that is leading to mental mistakes.
The power play is a mess, and watching Cal Clutterbuck literally bump into teammates on the man advantage has been infuriating.
Nick Leddy has continued to regress, Pulock has taken a step sideways and Pelech a big step back. Beauvillier has been inconsistent. Eberle looks out of place.
At some point when enough talented players are not performing it ladders up to the coaches.
The pundits had them a cellar dweller, so for being in the playoff run this is an A+ job, but in mismanaging the offensive and young talent it levels off the grade to a B+.