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Islanders plan to use “next man up” isn’t working

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 17: Barry Trotz, the head coach of the New York Islanders handles the bench against the Nashville Predators at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on December 17, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Predators defeated the Islanders 8-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 17: Barry Trotz, the head coach of the New York Islanders handles the bench against the Nashville Predators at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on December 17, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Predators defeated the Islanders 8-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Barry Trotz’s “next man up” plan isn’t working for the New York Islanders. Simply because the next men up aren’t good enough.

After their 2-1 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, head coach New York Islanders Barry Trotz spoke on how his bench was a little short during the game. Josh Bailey became too ill to finish the game and didn’t hit the ice in the second or third period and played a total of 4:42.

Barry Trotz told MSG’s Shannon Hogan, that the Islanders use a “next man up” strategy to deal with a shorter bench when players have to miss out. Unfortunately, for Barry Trotz those next men up are Michael Dal Colle, Tom Kuhnhackl, and Derick Brassard.

The trio makes up the Islanders third line, and all three aren’t pulling their weight.

Not Enough

The New York Islanders have had an issue with their third line all season long. They’ve been virtually non-existent.

The trio of Dal Colle, Kuhnhackl, and Brassard have generated a 34.96 percent expected goals for and a 35.29 percent when it comes to high-danger chances for while having a primarily offensive deployment (61.76 percent offensive zone faceoff ratio).

Thanks to NaturalStatTrick for the data.

That trio doesn’t deserve to get more ice time as they received against the Carolina Hurricanes. But they did because what other choice does Barry Trotz have?

Typically in a “next man up” scenario coaches want to reward guys that have been performing well but just aren’t getting the ice time to match because of a log jam up top. That isn’t the case for the New York Islanders.

Their third line has been giving them nothing. Aside from Derick Brassard, who has shown he can produce, but when paired with higher skilled individuals. Tom Kuhnhackl and Michael Dal Colle probably don’t deserve to be here. I’ve shown you their stats as a line, but here they are as individuals

*Stats are for 5on5 situations

I added where that player ranks on the team in parentheses. The ranking is for all 25 skaters this season including Oliver Wahlstrom Cole Bardreau, Otto Koivula, and Andrew Ladd.

The Islanders clearly need to do something with that third line not only because they do nothing on their own – which should be reason enough – but because when called upon to step up in the lineup, they just can’t.

Again, Brassard seems to be fine when paired with Beau and Brock, or when playing on the power play. But the other two are complete blackhole aside from the odd point here or there.

Next. Top 5 Isles goals from the last decade

“Next man up” is a fine strategy to use when the next man up is doing something with what he’s being given. But for the New York Islanders, that’s not the case and that has to change.

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