The New York Islanders did not bring their best against the Flyers. Yet, thanks to Ilya Sorokin, they walked away with two points in the shootout.
The Islanders were poor for most of the night, but two points is two points is two points, so we’ll take it, for now. Here are three takeaways from the win.
1. Islanders Trade Acquisitions – Palmieri & Zajac’s Night
Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, the two newest Islanders, suited up for tonight’s game less than 24 hours after news broke that they had been traded to New York by the New Jersey Devils. That’s a really quick turnaround for the new acquisitions, and the lack of time to adjust to their new surroundings and team showed on the ice.
The numbers for the Palmieri – Pageau – Zajac line weren’t bad. They controlled 65.7% of unblocked shot attempts and 58.7% of xG when adjusted for score and venue, according to Natural Stat Trick. They also took home 65.1% of HDCF in their 9:16 of 5v5 TOI.
The eye test told a bit of a different story for Zajac and Palmieri though. The pair looked unsure of their positioning on occasion, something that is going to happen when making the transition to a new team.
Time will fix those issues, I’m sure. Barry Trotz’s Islanders play a vastly different style than Lindy Ruff’s Devils. Greater familiarity with how Barry Trotz expects his forwards to play will breed comfort, and that comfort should result in better performances from Palmieri and Zajac.
On the positive side, we saw what we expected to see from the two newcomers. Zajac, while certainly a forward in decline at age 35, did a lot of the little things right. He made smart plays, and played within his game for most of the night. Palmieri’s shooting instincts allowed him to fling some rubber toward the net, and he finished with the second-highest 5v5 ixG among Islanders players as a result.
The newest Islanders didn’t have storybook starts to their runs on Long Island. There were some improvements to be made, but considering they have not yet gotten to practice with the team, I don’t think those are major concerns to over-analyze. As they settle in to their new roles and new team, I’m sure we’ll see an elevation of both their games.