Islanders: 3 Players Who Were Better Than Expected Offensively In 2019-20
By Matt O'Leary
2019-20 wasn’t a great offensive year for the Islanders, but these three guys were better than expected.
The last two years, the Islanders have put the offense on the backburner while they try to transition to a more defensive team. It’s been effective as they made the playoffs last year and can make it this year if they beat Florida in the qualifying round in a few weeks.
A majority of the team has seen a dip in offensive production over the last two years but this year, we were on the verge of seeing career years for three guys before the season came to a close.
These three Islanders were on pace to have improvements in 2019-20:
68 games – 54 points (26 goals, 28 assists) – 82 game pace: 65 points
Brock Nelson under Barry Trotz has completely turned his career around. Through the first five years of his career, Nelson was an inconsistent forward who would give you 20 goals and 40 points.
The last two years, he’s been one of the most important Islanders centering that second line. Last year he had a career-high 53 points and 25 goals to go along with it. This year, he finished with 54 points and matched his career high in goals with 26.
If the season continued he likely would’ve cracked 60 points and 30 goals for the first time in his career.
68 games – 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists) – 82 game pace: 42 points
Pulock was two points away from tying his career-high in points and he already matched his career-high in goals. Over the last two years, the Isles have relied heavily on Pulock as their number one defenseman and he’s answered the call brilliantly.
Breaking 40 points for the first time in his career would’ve been a nice milestone to hit. His shooting percentage went up from 5.0 to 6.1 this year, a nice increase meaning he’s hitting the net a bunch more, a welcomed sign.
40+ points a season is a nice spot for Pulock to be with his defensive responsibilities that is plenty for offensive production.
68 games – 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists) – 82 game pace: 47 points
I think we finally figured out what Anthony Beauvillier is in the NHL. He got hot at the end of 2017-2018 finishing with 21 goals and 36 points. Looking at the sample size of production in the second half of that year, it looked like he could possibly be someone who gives you a 60 point pace.
Then last year was an utter flop, giving the Isles 28 points. 2019-20 was huge for Beau because we needed to find out what the heck he is at the NHL level. Well, we finally got it. He was on pace to put up 47 points and 22 goals.
Beau is a good middle-six forward who can give you 45-50 points and 20-25 goals. That’s all we needed to know. Obviously, the more points the better, but you need guys who can give you depth scoring. That’s exactly what Anthony Beauvillier is.
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So while the team still needs work offensively, these three have shown where they can peak in the NHL, and for the Islanders, it’s a welcomed learning experience.