We’re at the halfway point of the 2018-19 season. What four New York Islanders players need to have a better second half?
We’re now at the halfway point of the 2018-19 NHL season. With a 23-14-4 record the New York Islanders sit just outside of a playoff position with 50 points. They’re just a point out of the last wildcard spot and third place in the Eastern Conference.
It’s been a remarkable first half from a team that was pegged for the basement of the Eastern Conference in September.
Helping them reach this unexpected heights has been the strategy and cunning of Barry Trotz, the shot stopping of Robin Lehner, and the complete and total buy in of every single player.
Mathew Barzal has been his usual incredible self, putting up points, scoring goals, and drawing penalty after penalty. Robin Lehner has proved to be the steal of the free agency period with league leading SV% and GAA. As well as solid play form the very same blue liners that were worst in the league just last season.
But not every player has had an ideal start to the 2018-19 season. Some have struggled out of the gate. As we enter the second half of the season these players need to bounce bag. I originally wanted to have a five player list, but it was difficult to think of a fifth player that needed to have a better second half.
I know that Nick Leddy and Ryan Pulock haven’t been putting up a ton of points but their defensive play has been much improved from last season. Like Barry says, the points will come.
(Note: I didn’t include players like Luca Sbisa or Tom Kuhnhackl because they sit on the scratchpad most nights. I can’t ask for improvements if they aren’t hitting the ice.)