What three New York Islanders players could put up surprise performances in the playoffs?
Going into the NHL’s 24-team tournament, the New York Islanders will rely on regulars like Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, and Jordan Eberle to put up points. All three have had the Florida Panthers number all season and were huge contributors in the playoffs last year.
But the Panthers will be expecting that and will do everything in their ability to stop that trio from getting anything done. The Carolina Hurricanes were able to do just that in the second round of the 2019 playoffs and walked away with a 4-0 series sweep.
To avoid that, the Islanders are going to need contributions from elsewhere in the lineup. With that in mind, I tried to think of three players that could step up to put in a surprise performance in the playoffs?
Derick Brassard is the perfect darkhorse candidate for the New York Islanders. With 32 points this year Brassard isn’t scaring anyone with his production. Just recently one of our writers gave him a fair C- grade for his performance in 2019-20.
But Brassard has shown that he can get hot in the right situation. Like playing shotgun next to Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier on the Islanders second line. From October 24 to November 21 (12 games), Brassard scored 15 points (47 percent of his total production).
With a few weeks of training camp as a second-line winger Derick Brassard might just be able to recapture that magic from early in the season and get on a roll. Playing for his next NHL contract probably adds a bit of motivation too.
We haven’t seen the old Nick Leddy in a while. It’s been since November 2017 that Nick Leddy was his usual self as the Isles standout offensive defenseman that the Isles traded for in 2014.
You can say that Leddy’s lower production this season is as a result of being placed on the third pair, but the veteran Isles blueliner is still third in average ice-time for defensemen with 21:07 (just one second behind Adam Pelech).
With a healthy squad and a Nick Leddy who seemed to be getting back to his regular self later in the season, the playoffs could be a platform for him to announce that he’s back.
Based on how Andrew Ladd‘s career has trended recently it would be surprising if he puts up a big performance in the playoffs. But he’s certainly got the motivation to put one in.
He’s healthy and clearly looking to remind people that he can still play. What better way to do that than by putting up some numbers during the playoffs?
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Ladd is likely going to get a chance to play alongside Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Josh Bailey on the Islanders third line. We know Ladd has a good release and we know when healthy that he can be effective. Maybe he puts it all together in the playoffs.