Casey Cizikas was his usual self for the Islanders in 2020, and they’ll need more of that from him in 2021 to have success.
There’s no denying, the New York Islanders are a better team when Casey Cizikas is on the ice for them. For the majority of his Islanders tenure, and especially under Barry Trotz, the fourth line is a key portion of the team.
2018-2019 saw Cizikas break out for a 20 goal and 33 point season. This past year, his goal pace came back to earth a little bit but he was still his solid presence on line four with 10 goals and 14 points in 48 games.
During the regular season, Cizikas missed 20 games. Unfortunately, that’s fairly common for him in his Isles career. The most amount of games he’s played at the NHL level and he’s missed more than 10 games in a season four times.
When he was on the ice, the Islanders were a significantly better team. With him, the team went 28-14-6 for a .646 points percentage and without him, they were 7-9-4 for a .450 points percentage in 2019-2020.
After playing 18 games for the Isles in the playoffs, he was forced to leave the bubble due to an injury he sustained during the return to play. something was off with him during the playoffs as he only had two assists in the games he did play.
What can we expect from him in 2021?
Unfortunately, even in a 56 game season, I don’t expect him to play every night. With a couple of bumps and bruises along the way, I’ll say Cizikas plays in 45 games for the Isles this season and plays somewhere around 14:00 minutes a night.
I’ll say Cizikas improves slightly from 2019-2020 in terms of point production. He’ll finish with 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists). Paced out over a full 82 game season, that would be 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists).
Cizikas is entering the final year of his contract and is set to be a free agent at 30 years old. This season is huge for him as his future with the team is absolutely up in the air.
On the one hand, the Isles love what he brings to the team on and off the ice but with the cap situation it just might not be possible to retain him with Adam Pelech, Anthony Beauvillier, and Ilya Sorokin needing new deals also.
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One thing is for certain, the Islanders will get solid fourth line play from him as he still all these years later is one of the more effective bottom-six centers in the sport.