The New York Islanders have had success this year pairing their young players with Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula. Much has been said about the so-called “Identity Line.” of Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck in the past. However, the value of what I’ll call the development line cannot be understated.
Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula have been outstanding for the New York Islanders this season. The two NHL veterans have bought into the idea that a part of their role this year was to help teach and develop younger players.
Not only do they provide a tough third line matchup against other teams, but they also contribute to special teams both offensively and defensively. Komarov has been a prominent fixture on the Penalty Kill, which ranks 17th in the National Hockey League. Filppula has seen time on both the Penalty Kill as well as the Power-Play.
What is invaluable is their ability to mold and shift to what Barry Trotz needs them to do in any number of different circumstances.
Send The Young Players To The Third Line
Michael Dal Colle, Anthony Beauvillier, Joshua Ho-Sang, have all played on that third line with Komarov and Filppula and have all benefited from it. Anthony Beauvillier has been ineffective on the top line with Barzal and Bailey for a couple of games before being paired with Komarov and Filppula. I understand its only been two games, but he has had a goal and ten shots since moving down.
Michael Dal Colle, on the other hand, started with Komarov and Filppula and has now been promoted to the first line with Barzal and Bailey. Dal Colle has been playing well he has four points in nineteen games this season with the New York Islanders. I feel the precise value of guys like Komarov and Filppula is to be a check on the rashness and inexperience of some of the younger players.
Coach Trotz knows he can lean on those guys to practice what he is preaching in practice and during the games.
For Ho-sang, the support of these vets isn’t as visible. When he was called up, he was placed on this line and seemed to have found some success. His only goal this year against the Coyotes came while on a line Komarov and Filppula. It seemed to be working, but Ho-sang’s play fell out of favor with the coaching staff and was sent down to the minors yet again.
I think that was more do to with Ho-sang not buying into the system The Islanders are playing than anything else.
Numbers and Contracts
Leo Komarov signed a four-year deal this summer for twelve million dollars. Islanders fans were not overly thrilled when he signed. Why do want a 31-year-old bottom-six cast away from Toronto on this team? I had similar concerns.
However, his play and the presence he has in the locker room with the younger players are starting to change my mind. Still, I wouldn’t say I like the term, but his AAV might begin to look better as the Salary Cap goes up.
Komarov has played 55 games this season he has six goals and twelve assists for eighteen points this season. He is also a + fifteen and has 30 Penalty minutes.
Valtteri Filppula signed a one-year deal in the summer for just under three million dollars. Here I would have liked a longer-term deal maybe two or three years for Filppula. Many people believed Filppula was near retirement this past off-season but this year has been a bit of a renaissance for Filppula.
Filppula has eleven goals and assists for twenty-two points this year. He is also a + 13 and has fourteen penalty minutes.