As a collective, the 2018-19 NHL season was fantastic for the New York Islanders. But what about on an individual level? Who put up career-high numbers?
With 103 points at the end of the season, the New York Islanders hit a high they hadn’t achieved since 1983-84 when they put up a 104 point season. That 103 point season was also the highest the Isles had ever achieved in an 82 game season.
But what about individual players? Who on the team had career years?
The team certainly wasn’t scoring as frequently as it did with Doug Weight at the helm. But then again, they won games. Any player would gladly take a hit in the stats column if it meant they could win.
But with that downturn in goal scoring, you wouldn’t think that many players had put up career numbers. How does seven players with career numbers sound (not counting goalies and rookies)?
Brock Nelson: Assists (28), Points (53)
Brock Nelson’s previous high career high for assists was 26 and 45 for points. He exceeded both with 28 and 53 respectively. Brock transformed into a consistent and invaluable two-way forward right before our eyes.
We didn’t expect that transformation from a player that was anything but consistent throughout his career. But the Barry Trotz affect knowns no bounds.
With Brock looking at unrestricted free agency this offseason the question has turned from “what do we do with his roster spot” to “how much are we willing to pay him”?
Anders Lee: Assists (23)
It’s a marginal increase, but a career-high is still a career-high. Lee put up an extra assist to eclipse the 22 he put up in 2017-18.
He might be more of a goal scorer than a playmaker, but his playmaker skills shouldn’t be underestimated.
Casey Cizikas: Goals (20), Points (33)
What hasn’t already been said about Casey Cizikas this season? The “fourth line” center is instrumental to the New York Islanders. Anders Lee might be the captain and the heart of the Islanders, but Casey Cizikas is the soul.
He personifies everything it means to be a New York Islander. He works hard, plays even harder, and battles for every inch of ice. And that style was rewarded with 20 goals on the season. He finished tied at 113th in terms of goals in the NHL.
Again, he’s a fourth line center who starts 67 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone. But still managed to equal offense-first players like Jakub Voracek and Blake Wheeler.
PS: His previous career high for goals was nine.
Leo Komarov: Assists (20)
Yup, Leo Komarov hit a career-high in assists this season. His 20 were the most since he put up 18 in 2016-17 when he scored 32 points. The veteran NHL’er quietly had himself a good regular season.
Robin Lehner: GAA (2.13) SV% (0.930)
Robin Lehner, man. What else can be said about the Isles goalie? He’s an inspiration and deserves every single ounce of credit he’s receiving. Just look at those two numbers, a 2.13 GAA (third in the NHL) and a 0.930SV% (second in the NHL). Obviously, career highs.
Technically, he finished with higher numbers before (in 11-12 and 12-13). But he played in five and 12 respectively. So I don’t count them.
Thomas Greiss: GAA (2.28) SV% (0.927)
Just like Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss had an incredible year for the New York Islanders. With a 2.28GAA (fourth in the NHL) and a 0.927SV% (fifth in the NHL), Greiss finished with a career-high in both categories. Better than his 2015-16 season (2.36GAA and 0.925SV%) when he pushed the Isles into the postseason and into the second round of the playoffs.
Ryan Pulock: Assists (28), Points (37)
Sure, it’s a small sample size. He’s only played in two NHL seasons. But he still beat out his first NHL season by five points.
Pulock is taking steps to be that true number one defenseman for the New York Islanders. He likely already is that number one.
Adam Pelech: Goals (5), Points (21)
Pelech just beat out his career high of 19 (thanks to two extra goals) from the previous season. Just like a few other players on this list its a marginal improvement. But Pelech has stepped up big time for the Islanders.
His partnership with Ryan Pulock has flourished to a point where they might (and should) be the Islanders top pair next season.
Scott Mayfield: Goals (4), Assists (15), Points (19)
Again, just like Ryan Pulock small sample size but he’s taken huge strides in his game. He might be a big body at 6’5″ but he isn’t a modern-day Hal Gill. He isn’t a stay at home defenseman. He’ll push into the offensive zone when he sees an opening.
That’s resulted in a career-high 19 points on the season.
First NHL Seasons
Devon Toews: Goals (5), Assists (13), Points (18)
Ok, it’s his first year in the NHL, but it’s still the best he’s had. You’d expect him to exceed what he did this season easily with a full year next season. He’s already usurped Nick Leddy as the top choice D for the power play.
Michael Dal Colle: Goals (3), Assists (4), Points (7)
Again, it’s the first taste of the NHL for this former fifth overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft. But if he gets a bigger runabout next season you’d expect him to exceed that seven points from this season.