Islanders Balanced Lineup Key to Their Success
The New York Islanders are the talk of the NHL. While other teams are doing it with star power, the blue and orange’s secret sauce is their balanced lineup.
The New York Islanders do not have a Sidney Crosby or a Connor McDavid or even a John Tavares (tongue in cheek) leading the way. Instead, the Isles rely on their entire group to pull the rope every game.
While some players on the Islander roster average a little bit more ice time on a nightly basis, head coach Barry Trotz plays all of his lines (forwards & defensive pairings). While the Isles currently do not have a superstar player (Mathew Barzal could be in the near future) what they do have is a lot of quality hockey players.
The Isles are deep both at forward and on the blue line. The Isles probably have the most under-rated D-man group in the league.
Trotz and Lou Lamoriello demand their guys to play a two-way game. How the Isles play without the puck is critical to the team’s success. The Isles also have a terrific blend of players which makes them a really good team.
Finally, the Islanders have two really good goalies in Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss. Neither one will be confused with Carey Price but because the Isles have two really good goalies this has allowed Trotz to alternate them all season long so far. Every night the Isles have a strong fresh netminder in between the pipes. That’s huge.
The Islanders’ score sheet for the season is beyond ridiculous when it comes to being balanced.
The Isles have eight players with at least ten points through the first 21 games (also Nick Leddy has nine points). In addition, the Isles have six players with at least five goals.
Scoring wise the Islanders are led by Barzal (9 Goals, 20 Points) and Brock Nelson (8 Goals, 19 Points). A big part of the Islanders depth being so good this season is the step forward Anthony Beauvillier has taken this season (8 Goals, 16 Points) as well as, under the radar free agent signing of Derick Brassard (6 Goals, 16 Points).
Keep in mind during the current Isles 17 game point streak (15-0-2) they didn’t have one of their top scorers Jordan Eberle during a big chunk of that time (he missed ten games). This speaks to the depth of this team and it shows on most nights when it’s a different player coming through to lead the team to victory.
The Islanders so far this season have been one of the best teams in the NHL. They are doing it as a team and that’s with a capital T.