Islanders: Fixing power play rest in ability to get shots on net

Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islander (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islander (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Islanders have consistently had issues on the man-advantage since Barry Trotz took over. In year one (18-19) the Islanders held a 14.5% efficiency while last year (19-20) their efficiency moved up slightly to 17.3% even with Anders Lee holding an abysmal 7.14 shooting percentage.

Through nine games this season, the power play isn’t any better. The Islanders have six PPGs on 38 opportunities in this young but shortened season. That’s a 15.8% efficiency.

The Islanders clearly need to fix their power play. With the unscheduled break this week, Barry Trotz told Newsday that he’ll be taking the chance to work on special teams. And when it comes to the PP, he wants his team to shoot more.

The fix for the New York Islanders power play is shots

On the surface that logic makes sense. More shots should return more goals. After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, am I right?

There are a number of studies out there that say Fenwick/60 is a good predictor of future power-play success. Fenwick counts all unblocked shots (on net or not). Here’s where the Islanders rank in Fenwick (for) per 60 compared to PP% over the last two seasons.

The Islanders just don’t get enough rubber towards the net. And because of that, they don’t have much success on the man-advantage. If you’ve watched the Islanders over the last few seasons you don’t need fancy stats to tell you that.

The fact that Barry Trotz wants more shots on the power play should come as a relief for Islanders fans who’ve undoubtedly shouted “shoot!” at their TV screens for years now.

This season they rank 24th in FF/60 at 65.29. This fits with the Isles poor 15.8% efficiency on the power play. They’ve totaled 73 unblocked shots on 34 power-play opportunities this year. That’s an average of 2.15 unblocked shots per opportunity.

That’s up (although marginally) over the last two years:

  • 18-19: 438 unblocked shots on 227 opportunities = 1.93 Fenwick/Opp
  • 19-20: 330 unblocked shots on 168 opportunities = 1.96 Fenwick/Opp

If the power play is going to improve they need to start getting more pucks towards the net. And Barry knows this

"“There’s times when we make ourselves dangerous and we get opportunities and we shoot it and we actually score. There’s other times when we don’t have that mentality where we’re going to shoot it.” –Barry Trotz to Newsdays’s Andrew Gross"

We saw that philosophy against the Flyers last Sunday. With six power-play opportunities in the game, the Islanders had 15 unblocked shots for an average of 2.5 unblocked shots per opportunity. That’s way up for the Islanders.

They scored a power-play goal against the Flyers.

We know that getting more shots on the power play is only a good thing. Both the analytics and eye-test community can agree on that. It’s surprising that it’s taken this long for the Islanders to adopt this strategy, but I’m glad they’re finally doing so.

Now they need to work on their zone entries.