The New York Islanders surprised a lot of people and found their way to the Conference Final. Can we expect any stats to carry over into 2021?
To a majority of NHL fans, the Islanders in the Eastern Conference Final was a major surprise. Most people looked at this roster and how they won and dismissed them but for three rounds they proved people wrong.
When looking at some of the key stats, some obviously won’t carry over into the new season. For example, JG Pageau netted eight goals in 22 games. That’s a pace of 30 goals over a regular season.
Pageau’s 89 goals in 435 career regular-season games, a pace of 17 over an 82 game season shows that the chances of him carrying over that 30 goal pace is extremely slim. While that’s an obvious outlier, I’ve found three stats that I believe will carry over into 2021.
Brock Nelson on a 30 goal pace
Like a fine wine, Brock Nelson has gotten better in his later years. In the playoffs last year he led the way with nine goals, which paced out is 34 goals in a full season. If the regular season continued last year we likely would’ve seen Nelson’s first 30 goal season.
The chances of playing a full 82 game season in 2021 are extremely slim, but Nelly should be able to keep up his 30 goal pace from the playoffs in a smaller sample size.
Semyon Varlamov’s .920+ save percentage
Outside a couple of clunkers, Semyon Varlamov was very good in the playoffs finishing with a .921 save percentage. During the regular season last year, he ended up with a .914 save percentage after a tough finish to the season.
With Adam Pelech back and Casey Cizikas healthy, the Islanders shouldn’t struggle as much defensively. When everyone was healthy through the first three months of the year, Varly had a .920 save percentage and I expect to see the same again this year.
Anders Lee’s Power Play Presence
During the regular season, Anders Lee had just two power play goals. For context of how bizarre that is, he’s had eight or more in each of the previous four seasons. Two goals is preposterously low for Lee.
In 22 games, he netted three for the Islanders which paces out to 11 over a full season. That’s more like it for Lee. Expect his goal total to go up in 2021, as the pace should be around 30 goals with improved power play numbers.
If the Islanders get these three things, no matter what else happens, they should be in good shape to be a playoff team again in 2021.