Islanders: Who Will Lead The Team In Goals In 2021?
By Matt O'Leary
Who will lead the Islanders in goals for 2021 this year? Last year, it was Brock Nelson with 26 goals in 68 games played.
For the first time in his Islanders career, Brock Nelson was the lead goal scorer for the team. He netted a career-high 26 goals, a pace of 31 over a full season. Will he repeat as the Islanders goal leader in 2021?
To me, this is a three-man race between Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, and Jordan Eberle. Since Barry Trotz has taken over, Nelson has clearly taken a step forward turning into one of the best second-line centers in the game.
He has 51 goals over the past two seasons and is playing a more well-rounded game in this system. He’s able to take more shots as well, which has helped with his career shooting percentage of 13%.
If there was a front runner for the crown in 2021, it would likely be Nelson.
Anders Lee was the lead goal scorer the three years prior with 34, 40, and 28 goals to his name. This past year he netted just 20 but there is a rather obvious outlier that should take a step forward for him in 2021, the power play.
Lee scored just two power-play goals after averaging 11 per season for the previous three years. The chances of Lee being that unlucky on the power play again seems rather slim. Keep in mind, he scored 18 even-strength goals in 68 games, a pace of 22 which would’ve been the third-highest total in his career.
Lee is a prime candidate for a bounceback season in 2021.
Jordan Eberle feels like the only other logical pick to be in the race. Anthony Beauvillier will likely only give you 20-25, Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey are both more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. Ironically, Eberle hasn’t hit 20 goals in two seasons.
Previously to these back to back down years in goal production, Eberle was someone who could put up 25-30 goals in a season. If the Islanders see a goal regression from Nelson and Lee remains the same kind of player, maybe Eberle could take home the prize with a 28 goal pace performance.
Goal Pace Predictions
Anders Lee: 32
Brock Nelson: 28
Jordan Eberle: 24
I’m going with Lee to finish with a pace (assuming they don’t play a full season) of 32 goals. I think he continues to remain a productive goal scorer at five on five, but we get the resurgence of goals on the power play in 2021.
Goal scoring isn’t this team’s strength, outside of Lee and Nelson I really don’t see anyone who could even get close to 30 goals. Unless Anthony Beauvillier randomly breaks out. Who do you think will lead the team in goals?