I thought 2019-20 was going to be a big year for New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas. But learning that he’ll have the same role as 2018-19 I think regression is in order.
I spent the entirety of the summer banging my “Casey Cizkas will be better for the New York Islanders in 2019-20″ drum. Only to learn that the New York Islanders will be using Casey Cizikas in the exact same role he had played last season. I’m pretty sour about that.
I get it. Casey Cizikas and linemates Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck set the tone and pace for the New York Islanders all season long last year. They played a style of hockey that both Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz hoped would seep into the rest of the lineup. It did.
Along with that Cizikas had his best statistical season to date with 20 goals and 13 assists for 33 points. It makes sense that Lou and Barry aren’t so quick to break them up.
But we can’t expect the same production from Cizikas in 2019-20.
There’s a reason Casey Cizikas is a prime regression candidate. His 15.31 5on5 shooting percentage stands out like a sore thumb. That shooting percentage blows his previous 11.11 5on5 shooting percentage from 2016-17 out of the water.
We know that shooting percentages that make single-season jumps, in either direction, are bound to regress back to the mean. Cizikas has a career average 11.1 shooting percentage in all situations. He’s going bound to score fewer than 20 in 2019-20.
It’s not just shooting percentage that indicates he might regress. His assignment last season was primarily defensive. He started 66.8 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone. With a similar assignment in 2019-20 it’s hard to see Cizikas having the same offensive impact when he’s so frequently in his own end of the ice.
He’ll Still Be Great
With all that being said, Cizikas will still be a huge presence for the Islanders. Players like Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, and Anders Lee are going to have to create more offense for the New York Islanders in 2019-20.
It’s great if Cizikas contributes offensively, but the Islanders shouldn’t have to rely on their fourth line to be as productive as it was. Their top six is going to have to produce more this year.
Cizikas and his linemates will once again set the tone and pace for the New York Islanders next season. They’ll still be relied on to chew up some decent minutes and contribute some offense.
I’m not expecting Casey Cizikas to repeat what he did in 2018-19. I’m expecting him to score around 25 points, lead a penalty kill that’s above average in the league, and continue to be the best fourth line in hockey.
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I still think that given a more offensive role with more offensive linemates, Casey Cizikas could have produced even more in 2019-20. But seeing as he’ll stick to the same defense-first role from 2018-19 I think Cizikas will be less productive but just as effective.