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Editorials

New York Islanders Answering Five Questions From Start of Season

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: (l-r) Lou Lamoriello and Garth Snow of the New York Islanders look at the draft board prior to the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: (l-r) Lou Lamoriello and Garth Snow of the New York Islanders look at the draft board prior to the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 18: Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 18, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Islanders defeated the Coyotes 3-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Where The Isles Defensive Issues Because of the Players or the System?

It’s well documented that the New York Islanders were the worst defensive team in the NHL last season. The easiest number to sum up that point up is with the sheer amount of goals they allowed; 296. They allowed 296 goals against last season.

It was terrible. To win a game the New York Islanders needed to score a minimum of four goals. So what was the issue? Was it Doug Weight’s defensive system or was it the players that he had at his disposal?

By September 2018 we knew that new head coach Barry Trotz would have the same blue line to work with. Actually, it might even be weaker with Calvin de Haan leaving in free agency and then the team bringing in Luca Sbisa on a PTO (that last one would happen later).

In 2018-19 we’d be able to evaluate if it was an issue of players or the system.

Answer: At this point, we know that the issue was the system. Barry Trotz has the Islanders absolutely rolling defensively. Through 47 games they’ve allowed 119 goals against. The lowest in the NHL at the moment.

Again, the blue line is exactly the same as it was last season. The Islanders are on pace to allow 208 goals against. That’s 88 fewer goals against over a single season. That’s also a reduction of just over a goal against per game over the course of a season.

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The answer is “system”. It’s clear. What Doug Weight was doing just didn’t work. It wasn’t an issue of having the right players. It was an issue of using them right.

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