Islanders roster can’t do what Lou Lamoriello is looking for

Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello wants his team to capitalize on their opportunities in front of goal. Unfortunately, this roster just isn’t built for that.

During Lou Lamoriello’s mailbag from last Saturday, he was asked by a New York Islanders fan what he thinks this roster needs to improve on. Lou was pointed with his answer when he said: “capitalize on our offensive opportunities to score”.

(You can see that answer as well as another 25 answers to questions posed by Islanders fans to the President and GM here.)

But looking at the Islanders roster, there’s an issue with Lou’s answer. This roster is already converting shots to goals at career average levels. While some players could certainly improve a little they alone wouldn’t skyrocket this team to even mid-table in goals-for.

So where is Lou thinking this can improve?

Conversion Rates

Here was the full question and answer posed to Lou in the mailbag:

"Question from Kenneth Scheriff: From the looks of the team right now, what aspects of the game do you feel we must improve on?Finding a way to capitalize on our offensive opportunities to score."

You can interpret the way that Lou answered that question in a number of ways. I immediately focused on shooting percentages. If a number of players are falling below their career averages when it comes to shooting percentage then there’s an easy case to make that players aren’t converting on their chances.

We can get into a discussion about the quality of those shots but simply put, a shot at goal is an opportunity. The player decided to put the puck on the net because he felt there was a relatively good chance it could be a goal.

A simple look at how the 12 primary forwards on the Islanders roster convert shots to goals this year versus their careers shows that most are actually converting shots into goals more frequently than their career average before the 2019-20 season.

(I highlighted the players who’s shooting percentage is bellow career average.)

Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle are clearly the main culprits here. You probably could have already guessed that before seeing the table.

If they shot at their career averages everything would be better, right? Not really.

Sure, if Lee shot at his career 14.43 shooting percentage he’d have more goals. With 195 shots on net this season, Lee would have around eight more goals on the year. Add in Eberle’s two goals -if he shot at his career average on his 136 shots – the Isles would have ten more goals to their game.

Those ten goals don’t do much when you compare that to the rest of the NHL. With those ten goals, the Islanders would have 199 goals on the season, good enough to bump them up to 21st from 24th in goals-for.

Not Built For This

Just looking around the roster and players are converting at a higher clip than they’ve done on average during their careers. Aside from Lee and Eberle of course. So where does Lou think this capitalizing on opportunities is going to come from?

Mathew Barzal is still young and can still improve. His shooting percentage could certainly jump up a few percentage points but it won’t likely jump up to Leon Draisaitl levels. With the type of player Barzal is, he could arguably go up another three to four percentage points at best.

If the Islanders are going to get better at converting their chances they’ll have to bring someone in that can do that. Something Lou hasn’t been able to do just yet.

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So if there’s one aspect where this team can improve it’s certainly in converting their capitalizing on their opportunities, but this roster is going to need some outside help in order to do that.