The New York Islanders have had a pretty set lineup for the whole 2018-19 season. However, I think a change or two should be made that will benefit the team now and for the future.
After their first 70 games, the New York Islanders are sitting at second place in the Metropolitan division. Through these 70 games, their lineup has stayed the same, barring injuries. Although the team has been playing well, I think a slight change will help out down the stretch.
Islanders 22-year-old winger Michael Dal Colle is the most intriguing option to be inserted. Dal Colle was selected by the Isles fifth overall in the 2014 NHL draft but has not been developing into the goal scorer that the organization was hoping for.
In 23 games played for the New York Islanders this season, Dal Colle has only produced five points (two goals and three assists). However, Dal Colle has played solid two-way hockey, posting a +/- of five, racking up six takeaways, and only giving up the puck five times.
I believe a big part of Dal Colle’s lack of production when he is in the lineup, is his limited ice time. So far, Dal Colle has only played during five on five situations and is averaging 11:51 time on ice. Furthermore, Dal Colle has mainly been on the Isles third line, or “Development Line,” with Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov.
Considering the facts that Dal Colle has limited ice time and has been on a line with Filppula and Komarov, I am not surprised by his lack of production. I believe with more ice time, powerplay minutes, and being on Mathew Barzal’s wing will increase production from Dal Colle.
Who gets the boot
With Dal Colle being inserted into the lineup, someone must be removed. To me, this player should be Leo Komarov. Komarov has played in all 70 games this season and should not play all 12 that remain.
Although Komarov has 22 points (six goals and 16 assists) so far this season, he only has eight points (one goal and seven assists) in his last 30 games.
Another problem that I see with “Uncle Leo’s” game, is his discipline. Komarov has been seen taking several untimely penalties this season that have cost the team the game. Overall, Komarov has taken 38 penalty minutes so far this season, while Dal Colle only has two.
The new lineup
Dal Colle being in the lineup and Komarov being out will result in different forward lines for the Islanders. Defensive pairings will most likely remain the same.
My hope, with Dal Colle in the lineup, is that coach Barry Trotz will put Dal Colle on the second line with Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle and Andrew Ladd on the third line with Filppula, and Josh Bailey on the first line with Brock Nelson and Anders Lee.
To help visualize these lines, the lines would look like as follows:
I think with the playmaking abilities of Barzal, Dal Colle will prosper. Dal Colle has shown in the AHL what he can do with a legitimate playmaker (Josh Ho-Sang), so I think being with Barzal will give the Islanders another goal scorer that they desperately need.