Frank Molinari | Grade: B
The Islanders sit at third in the Metropolitan Division, that would have sounded crazy before the season started. And maybe, it still is a little crazy. But what is also crazy is just how good the Islanders have been.
The Islanders have been tough team to play against and it shows. Barry Trotz has really sharpened up how this team plays defensively. At the time of writing, the Islanders have given up 82 goals, putting them at 4th in goals against.
That puts them at pace of 232 GA for the whole season. That is a remarkable improvement from last season, where the Islanders had the league worst of 293. And it’s all thanks to Trotz’s plan, and the players’ execution.
The Islanders haven’t been perfect, and they’ve shown their imperfections. The Islanders power play is at a woeful 14.4%, a drastic drop from last year’s 6th best of 23.2%. The Islanders’ power play has to be the biggest complaint among Islander fans, and many question why the likes of Cal Clutterbuck is on the second unit.
The Islanders seem to have trouble staying out of the penalty box, currently 9th in the league with 289 PIM. However, the Islanders are showing how hard it is to play against them. Currently sitting at 15th in the league with a 79.3% penalty kill.
The Islanders are also fifth in the league in hits per game with 26.0. The Islanders, just as we predicted, are that hard hitting gritty team that just won’t quit. But they have been exceeding expectations.
That’s why the Islanders get a B from me. Currently in a playoff spot means a lot, but third in the Metropolitan isn’t something to marvel at, still a long way to go until April.