3. One Piece Away
The Islanders had one glaring weakness all season long. They just don’t score enough goals. With 189 goals-for this season, the Islanders finished with the eighth-worst offense in the league. Only the Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars have a worse offensive numbers and made the postseason.
Through 68 games, the Islanders had two 20 goal scorers (Brock Nelson with 26 and Anders Lee with 20). Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier would have likely eclipsed 20 with a full season.
At 5on5 the Islanders just weren’t creating enough opportunities to score. They held the eighth-worst xGF with 123.77. (We’ll get to the power play in the next slide.)
The Islanders might have been winning games, but they weren’t creating enough offense to be considered ‘dangerous’. Adding a goal scorer, a player who could add 25+ goals consistently every season, would change that.
They desperately need help offensively. With a flat cap, getting that consistent 25+ goal scorer is going to be an issue for the Islanders. The Isles have zero room to add a veteran player to their lineup without moving a few pieces out.
Going after Patrik Laine in the trade market will be expensive. Winnipeg isn’t just going to give him up for free. Same goes for Nikolaj Ehlers. Trying to land Mike Hoffman in free agency (if he gets there) will be impossible unless the Islanders are prepared to move Leddy, Boychuk, and another contract.
But any of the three would be arguably exactly what the Islanders need.
Unless, guys in the system, like Kieffer Bellows or Oliver Wahlstrom are ready to step up and give the Islanders what they need. The jury is still out on whether either of them can be a top-six forward in the league
If the Islanders could find a way to add a consistent 25+ goal scorer like Laine or Hoffman or if Bellows or Wahlstrom can develop into one, the Isles will be a contender. They did get to an Eastern Conference Finals without any of them after all.