The New York Islanders are third in the league in power-play percentage. Can that last in 2019-2020 or will that drop off a cliff?
Last year, arguably the biggest weakness the New York Islanders had was their power play. They finished 29th in the league in power play percentage (14.5 percent) and they were tied for second to last in the total number of power play goals with 33.
It was Scott Gomez’s job to run the power play, and after an abysmal season, he kind of just disappeared into the night. We didn’t hear a lot about him this offseason and then one day he just wasn’t here.
In June, the Islanders added Jim Hiller to the staff. He worked under Mike Babcock for the last few years so Lou Lamoriello obviously knew him from his days in Toronto.
Over his final three years in Toronto he got a ton out of their power play:
Pretty, pretty, pretty good. It was clear that Hiller had the credentials, but would the Islanders respond? Well, through the first eight games of the year, the Islanders are third in the league in power play percentage.
33.3 percent seems way too high to maintain, the leader last year was Tampa Bay at 28.2 percent, but can they remain in the top half of the league in power play this year?
Simply put, yes they can. What the Islanders are doing differently is they are getting pucks to the net. Last year, they were seemingly stuck around the perimeter with very little penetration.
The number of aimless passes around the perimeter to Josh Bailey was mindboggling. Now, they are passing with a purpose and are so much crisper. The system is working.
This power play goal is a perfect example of what the Islanders are doing differently. They are passing cross-ice, with a purpose and get it to Brock Nelson who is in a perfect position to put home the goal.
Pucks to the front of the net, what a concept. The same thing happens here, Josh Bailey gets to the front of the net with nobody around him the Islanders work it across the ice to Anthony Beauvillier who finds Bailey for the easy tap in from the slot.
Last year we saw down years from Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, and Jordan Eberle. A big part of the reason why was due to their struggles on the power play. Sure, a part was due to Barry Trotz’s new system, but when you’re 14.5 percent on the power play you aren’t going to have great offensive numbers.
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If the Isles remain in the top half of the league in power play percentage, they should be (keyword being should) be just fine.