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Islanders Need To Shoot The Puck More

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 07: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders celebrates his goal at 5:15 of the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on March 07, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 07: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders celebrates his goal at 5:15 of the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on March 07, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Yes, it’s obviously an issue but just how badly do the New York Islanders need to increase their shots for? Hint, it’s by a lot.

“Quality over quantity” is something Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders have been preaching over the last two years. Barry would rather have fewer shots go on net if they are more likely to go in.

In a vacuum, you can see the logic behind it. I don’t agree with it, but I can see where Trotz and that system is coming from. It worked well in 2018-2019 when the Isles were a defensive juggernaut and had two of the best goalies in the league.

This year, they don’t have either of those luxuries and they didn’t really adjust. Saying the Islanders need to shoot more isn’t necessarily a revolutionary idea, I understand that, but it’s something I wanted to show why it’s necessary to change or how bad they currently are at getting pucks on net.

If you look at all 31 teams and how they rank in terms of shots, the Isles are 30th in the league with only the Detroit Red Wings behind them, who happen to be 17-49-5 this year. They haven’t even cracked 40 points on the season yet with 11 games remaining in their season.

It’s not only that the Islanders aren’t getting shots off it’s where they are generating their chances from. Thanks to HockeyViz, we’re able to see where the Islanders get their shots from. Looking at this chart, it’s essentially two spots where they get their shots from.

Directly in front of the net, where Anders Lee lives, and the right point where Johnny Boychuk and Ryan Pulock reside. The rest of the zone is a deep blue, especially the left side. They are making it so easy to defend against when other teams realize that they aren’t going to be putting very many pucks on net unless it’s coming from those two very specific locations.

When looking at a team like Toronto, who is fourth in the league in shots, their entire zone is essentially red. They have an area just inside the blue line on both sided that they don’t generate much from but in front of the net, the right side, and both points are a deep red.

Vegas, who leads the league in shots is basically all red except for along the walls. Both Vegas and Toronto in playoff positions where they currently sit.

Okay, but what about a team like Dallas you might ask. The Islanders seem to play a semi-similar style to them, are their charts as bad as the Islanders? Nope. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not great but they are generating from both sides in the slot and have a couple of spots on both sides above the faceoff dot where they generate shots.

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So while it’s all well and good to preach the system, the Islanders need people other than Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk, and Ryan Pulock generating their scoring chances. It’s pretty clear they need to get a little more creative if they want to increase their 2.53 expected goals, which they absolutely should look to do.

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