3. Trotz ‘pissed off’ in the post-game presser
Barry Trotz didn’t mince words in his post-game press conference, and he made it clear that there were changes coming to the Islanders lineup after Tuesday’s result.
“This is a playoff mentality right now, and I’m not quite sure that we’re in our playoff mentality right now, which is really pissing me off.” Said the Islanders coach.
While we obviously won’t know what changes are specifically coming to the lineup, I’d have to guess they include seeing some new blood in the lineup. Oliver Wahlstrom, Dmytro Timashov, and Austin Czarnik have yet to make their season debuts for the Islanders, and with Beauvillier out, it’s likely we’ll see at least one of them make appearances sometime soon.
Of those three, Wahlstrom would be the likeliest to replace the offensive skillset that Beauvillier possesses. I posted an analysis of Timashov’s limited analytics profile a few weeks ago for Eyes On Isles and based on that research I can fairly confidently say he won’t bring the same offensive pop to the lineup that Wahlstrom could. You can read more about Czarnik’s game and history here.
During his presser, Trotz mentioned that he felt for the last couple of games as though he only has one line to work with. I think most who have watched the games would agree the line in question is the Barzal line, who again drove possession and scoring chances for the Islanders, leading to both Isles goals.
It may seem counterintuitive, but without much in the way of reinforcements off the bench, Trotz may have to consider breaking up his first line in the hopes of spreading some of the offensive wealth around the lineup.
Mathew Barzal had another strong night, leading the way with a goal and an assist, as well as the highest game score of any player to hit the ice in Washington on Tuesday.
Noah Dobson was also strong for the Islanders in the 3-2 defeat. Dobson played 17:21 in all situations, scored a goal, and moved the puck well on the power-play. His transitions again looked strong, as he generated several impressive controlled zone exits under pressure late in the game.
It’s early in the season of course, but with Tuesday’s loss, the Islanders fell to seventh place in the MassMutual East Division, only ahead of the Rangers, whose last win came against the Isles.
I’m not panicked yet, but in a shortened season featuring only intra-divisional games, it could be very easy to fall into an early rut and be forced to play catch-up in the standings. Either way, it couldn’t hurt to get the Islanders ship turned around quickly.