Islanders power play number one priority: Create more shots
The New York Islanders need to find a way to get more pucks towards the net on the power play.
This week, the New York Islanders began working on the power play in training camp. With a 17.3 percent efficiency on the man advantage, the Islanders desperately needed to work on their special team.
After Saturday’s session, Barry Trotz spoke about how Jean-Gabriel Pageau will be a huge addition to the power play. The center’s ability to win a draw will help the Islanders gain control of the puck right away, something according to Barry Trotz, the Isles didn’t do well prior to Pageau’s arrival.
Prior to Pageau’s arrival on February 24, the Isles held a 58.1 FOW% on the power play. That was the fifth-ranked FOW% in the league at the time. It was better when Pageau arrived with a 61.5 FOW%, ranking the team seventh.
Winning a faceoff isn’t the Islanders issue on the power play. Their issue is generating enough shots towards the net.
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take” is understood not only in the hockey world around the entire world thanks to its use in The Office.
Unfortunately, the New York Islanders didn’t follow that mantra on the power play. The team ranked near the bottom of the league in just about every shooting metrics on the man advantage.
*Corsi For measures any shot (including misses and blocked shots).
**Fenwick For measures any unblocked shot
To be fair we know the Islanders power play didn’t get very many opportunities. They have a league-low 168 power-play opportunities and a league-low 4:21 of power-play time per game. But if you break down those stats on a per 60 basis, they don’t get a whole lot better.
Outside of controlling the referees and having them give the Islanders more power-play opportunities, the Isles have to find a way of getting more pucks towards the net if they want to be successful.
Specifically, the focus should be finding a way to get Anders Lee the puck more frequently. Over the previous two years, Lee has put up 64 and 60 shots on net during the man advantage. He has 28 this year. Over a full 82 game season that’s a pace of 34.
In those two previous seasons, Lee has 14 and ten power-play goals. He has two this season.
The Islanders seem too content to pass the puck around the perimeter to open up gaps in the defense before they shoot the puck. While that strategy fits with the overall Barry Trotz system, it isn’t working on the power play.
Two seasons with below league average efficiency on the man advantage proves that.
If the Islanders are to have greater success on the power play they’ll need to fire the puck towards the net with more frequency. A plan that plays perfectly into the hand of Anders Lee.