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New York Islanders Round Table: Quarter Season Grade

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 07: The New York Islanders lineup at center ice prior to their home opener against the Buffalo Sabres at the Barclays Center on October 7, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 07: The New York Islanders lineup at center ice prior to their home opener against the Buffalo Sabres at the Barclays Center on October 7, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 26: Head Coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders instructs his team against the Washington Capitals during their game at the Barclays Center on November 26, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Brian Wagner| Grade: B+

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.

Overall

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+.

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