Most hockey fans and many NHL Insiders have under-estimated the New York Islanders these last couple of years. They have not kept in mind the Islanders’ secret sauce.
The Islanders got to the Eastern Conference Finals last year without a superstar player. No franchise goalie, or defensemen, or even elite scorer. But yet they are a contending team.
While the Isles don’t have a Sidney Crosby or a Victor Hedman they are very deep one through twenty.
The Isles throw four forward lines and three defensive pairings at their opponents every night. Also, the last two seasons the Isles have pretty much rotated their two goalies every game.
While some key players play a little bit more than others, Trotz and Lamoriello rely on everyone for significant minutes on a nightly basis.
No better example of this than the Isles fourth line which usually plays between 12 to 15 minutes a night. This approach keeps the Isles fresh over the long haul as well, which is very important.
Many NHL experts do not consider enough how many quality hockey players the Isles dress every game. Their depth is so underrated.
Without the Puck
The second part of the Isles secret sauce is how they play without the puck. The Isles fundamentals under Trotz from a defensive standpoint are a huge part of their success.
Always keeping in mind, where they are positional and never sacrificing defense for offense unless the situation calls for it late in the game. This has led to far fewer Grade A scoring opportunities and therefore a lot fewer goals allowed.
The Isles structure is the other part of their secret sauce. The Isles play playoff hockey from the puck drop on opening night through the playoffs.
While others underestimate the Isles (which they embrace) don’t forget about their secret sauce.