The New York Islanders had a bottom tier offense in the league in 2018-19. With the same roster, it’s hard to see them improve in 2019-20.
With 223 goals for, the New York Islanders had the 22nd ranked offense in the NHL last season. Scoring wasn’t their strength. And with essentially the same team going into 2019-20 it’s tough to see where the goals are going to come from.
The goal over the offseason was to address that. The Islanders needed more offense for the 2019-20 season. So far they haven’t exactly got it.
Sure, Ho-Sang can create chances, but he isn’t a finisher. Nor is
. And who knows what
can bring to the table. So I tried to figure out where the Islanders might find some offense.
Where are the Goals?
Just focusing on the forward, I was initially having a hard time seeing who was going to significantly increase their goal-scoring totals from last season.
Usually, we look at shooting percentages to see if a player is going to bounce back in the next year or regress. If a player is shooting well below or well above their career average we expect a correction over the next season.
That’s why we expect Casey Cizikas to lose a few goals from last season. In all situations, Casey Cizikas held an 18 percent shooting percentage. His career average is 11.1 percent. was there maybe a bizzaro Casey Cizikas? Someone who converted shots into goals at a much lower ratio than their career average?
No. Mathew Barzal shot below his average by 1.4 percentage points. But even if he makes up that 1.4 percentage points we’re talking about adding three goals to his game. That’s not going to change the Islanders offense.
An average offense in the NHL last season generated 243 goals, that’s 20 more than the Islanders generated. We’ll need those three goals from Barzal and more if the Islanders are going to become more of an offensive force in the 2019-20 season.
So if shooting percentage doesn’t give us a hint, what about output? By that, I mean shot volumes. Did any Islanders forwards get as many pucks on net as we expect them to?
I highlighted three players that had the largest negative gaps in shots on goals between 2017-18 and 2018-19; Jordan Eberle had a -23, Josh Bailey -25, and Leo Komarov -36.
If all three made up for that negative shot differential in 2019-20 and converted shots to goals at their career average were looking at another ten goals (three for Eberle, three for Bailey, four for Komarov.)
I don’t think Komarov can add another four goals to his game. Not with the deployment, he’s been given under Barry Trotz at least.
That means if Barzal can get back that 1.4 percentage point on his shooting percentage and if both Bailey and Eberle can get back to their average shooting percentage and shot volumes the New York Islanders should be able to make up nine goals.
And we haven’t yet subtracted the goals we know the Islanders lost.
With Valterri Filppula gone, that’s 17 goals that followed him to Detroit. We know that Casey Cizikas will have a lower goal total but by how much?
Derick Brassard scored 14 in an awful year between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, and Colorado Avalanche. He might be able to contribute the same number of goals that left with Filppula.
That leaves new sources for production Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang to fill the gap. Dal Colle scored three goals in his 28 game stint, the Islanders will need him to do better this season.
The same goes for Ho-Sang. He might not be a ‘goal-scorer’ but the Islanders are hoping he can put a few in the net.
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It’s hard to see the New York Islanders being any better offensively in 2019-20. They’ll have to hope they can win the same way they did in 2018-19. Unless some of their less proven players, like Beauvillier, Dal Colle, or Ho-Sang can do more in the goals department.