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Editorials

Islanders Are Winning Despite Poor Possession Numbers, Again

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Barry Trotz, head coach of the New York Islanders speaks with the media prior to the game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on September 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Barry Trotz, head coach of the New York Islanders speaks with the media prior to the game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on September 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders are the hottest team in the NHL right now with a seven-game win streak. For the second year in a row, the Islanders are good, even when the numbers say they shouldn’t.

With seven wins in a row, the New York Islanders are the hottest team in the NHL. With 16 points in eleven games, the Islanders are second in the Metropolitan Division and sixth in the NHL.

They spent the entirety of last season proving people wrong. Before a puck had even been dropped the Islanders were written off. And then during the season, when the team was winning, the Islanders still couldn’t get any respect around the league. Because the numbers said this wasn’t a good team.

Well, eleven games into the 2019-20 season and the Isles are doing it again. They’re winning, even when the numbers say they shouldn’t be this good.

To The Numbers!

It’s been jammed down our throat’s that teams who don’t get a positive shot share don’t typically win much. In order to be successful in the long-run, teams need to possess the puck more than their opponents.

But so far, the Isles aren’t following the “possession equals wins” game. With a 44.9 percent Corsi-For at 5on5, the orange and blue have the second-worst puck possession numbers in the league. Only the New York Rangers, who are you know, terrible, have a worse Corsi-for rate at 40.9 percent.

Last season was the same story. With a 47.46 Corsi-for, the Isles ranked 27th in the league in terms of possession. Along with the Dallas Stars, they were the only two teams to make the playoffs and finish in the lower half of the Corsi-for table.

The Islanders just weren’t good according to the numbers. Over the long-term, the Islanders couldn’t possibly continue winning so long as they kept the same talent pool.

And that’s exactly what Lou Lamoriello did. He brought back just about everyone except for 2018-19 Jennings Trophy winner, 2018-19 Masterton Trophy winner, and 2018-19 Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner.

If the Islanders played the same way, with the same team (or one with less “talent”) they wouldn’t be any good. But here we are with the Isles putting up seven wins in a row and sitting sixth in the NHL for points.

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The New York Islanders are good, in spite of the underlying numbers, such as Corsi. The quality over quantity mantra that Barry Trotz preaches might just, you know, work.

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