The New York Islanders are getting virtually nothing from Michael Dal Colle, Leo Komarov, and Matt Martin. Oliver Wahlstrom or Kieffer Bellows can fix that.
Nearly half of the Islanders forward group is giving the team absolutely nothing. Yesterday, the Islanders ran out these line combinations: Lee-Barzal-Eberle, Beauvillier-Nelson-Bailey, Ladd-Pageau-Dal Colle, Martin-Brassard-Komarov.
There are seven forwards that I’m comfortable with right now in that lineup. The top-six is fine, and JG Pageau is good, but the rest of the bottom six is an utter disaster.
Starting with Andrew Ladd he has just three games under his belt with no points this season. With 29 games over the past two seasons, it’s fair to say he is pretty ineffective for this team. In his 10:53 of ice time on average this year, what is he really doing to stand out?
The same could be said about Michael Dal Colle. He has just 10 points in 53 games for the Islanders this year. Similar to Andrew Ladd he is just existing. He isn’t killing penalties, he isn’t on the power play he just gets his 10 minutes of five-on-five per night, skates around a bit, drinks some water, and then does it all over again the next night.
Without Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin is a shell of his former self. He’s not nearly as effective without those guys which really makes you wonder if they will extend him after the season.
Speaking of guys who won’t be back next year, insert Derick Brassard. Brassard was brought in to be the third line center and that has been a massive flop. His 30 points in 65 games is pretty deceiving considering he has just two points in his last 12 games and two goals in his last 32 games.
To round out the atrocious new fourth line you have Leo Komarov who continually can not help himself taking careless stick fouls like it’s going out of style. Yes, he can kill penalties but when you have forwards like Casey Cizikas, Brock Nelson, JG Pageau, and Cal Clutterbuck who can also kill penalties and then provide more offensively he’s pretty expendable.
With just nine goals in the last five games (1.8 per game) it’s clear the Isles could use some more offensive help. That’s where Kieffer Bellows or Oliver Wahlstrom could come in.
For Bellows, he provided a brief spark the first time he got the call up scoring two goals in his second career game. Since being sent back down, he has four goals and is now up to 20 on the season in the AHL.
He has a significantly higher ceiling than any of the guys listed above and would provide a more offensive mindset to a team that is bone dry when it comes to offensive output. Then, there’s Oliver Wahlstrom who made his NHL debut earlier this season.
He didn’t have any points in his nine games but he wasn’t exactly getting a ton of ice time, he had less than 10 minutes in four of the nine games that he played with the big club.
In his first full year in the AHL, he has 10 goals and 20 points in 43 games. He’s not exactly lighting it up but he again is a pure goal scorer with a high ceiling as a 2018 first-round draft selection.
Of the two, let’s say Bellows gets the call-up. Your lines could look something like this:
Lee – Barzal – Eberle
Beau – Nelson – Bailey
Bellows – Pageau – Ladd
Komarov – Brassard – Clutterbuck
It’s not great but it clearly significantly better than what the Islanders are riding out there right now. When Cizikas comes back you can scratch Ladd and put Brass with Bellows and Pageau and unite the Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck line as well.
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The forward situation isn’t great, clearly, but there are ways to optimize it. Just running out the same unit over and over and expecting a difference isn’t going to change anything.