New York Islanders Four Players With Incredible Bounce Back Seasons
In 2017-18 Casey Cizikas put up 17 points in a redeveloped role under Doug Weight. His role was more aligned with that of a traditional fourth line. And one that clearly didn’t suit Cizikas.
He just didn’t seem like the same player. He didn’t have the same bite to his game, and he certainly didn’t produce like we knew he could. With 17 points in 59 games, Cizikas had a down year last season.
But with the arrival of Lou Lamoriello as the GM, that changed. Lou brought back former teammate Matt Martin to reunite the “best fourth line in hockey” of Cizikas, Martin, and Cal Clutterbuck.
After two years apart no one knew if they could be as effective as they used to be. Martin and Clutterbuck would still hit anything wearing opposing colors, but could all three still put up points? The last time they were all together in 2015-16 they combined for 71 points.
Casey Cizikas proved he was still that player he was two years ago with 20 goals and 33 points. Both are career highs. In fact, all three were back up in terms of productions. Matt Martin finished with 14 points and Cal Clutterbuck had 23. Combined that’s 70 points.
Casey Cizikas and his linemates may be the fourth line, but their play is crucial to the entire team. The fourth line is typically the line that Barry Trotz starts games and periods with. And in the playoffs, they’ve even become the team’s top shutdown unit.
Cizikas, Martin, Clutterbuck, were largely responsible for keeping Sidney Crosby’s line (Crosby, Guentzel, Simon) to a combined three points over the course of their first-round sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Credit General Manager Lou Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz for using him (and the rest of his line) effectively. Its allowed Casey Cizikas to bounce back in a big way in 2018-19.