Islanders: Coach Trotz is not putting us in the best position to win
By E.F. Charles
I have great respect for Coach Trotz, his pre and in-game planning and execution, his system, and his championship pedigree. We, as New York Islander fans are blessed to have him behind our bench however, Coach is not putting his players in the best position to perform to their potential.
The recent losses to Washington are a microcosm of the slim margins for error in Coach Trotz’s system and a big reason why the Islanders play so many close games.
Last night’s 6-3 loss to the Capitals shows what happens when that defense-first approach breaks down. The defense first, veteran-laden, chip and chase approach subordinates offensive creativity and emphasizes sound defense on both ends of the ice.
Overall, it is an excellent approach that elevates the game of mediocre players however, its drawback is that it sometimes stifles the production of more gifted players and leaves little margin for error.
New York Islanders need more scoring
If we are going to make a serious run at the Cup, we simply must find a way to score more goals. To do so Coach Trotz must make a few more adjustments to his lines.
Continuing to play Leo Komarov or Travis Zajac on the first line must end immediately. While both bring value to the game, it is not on the first line. Neither has the skills to compliment Mat Barzal or Jordan Eberle. Putting them on the first line is like putting Mazda parts in a Ferrari.
Coach Trotz must play Kyle Palmieri on the Barzal line. Palmieri has the skill set that matches up with Barzal and Eberle. Palmieri is an offensive player who knows how to score and how to put others in a position to score.
Similarly, Oliver Wahlstrom needs to be reunited with JG Pageau on the third line. Michael Dal Colle may do a few things defensively that make Trotz smile but no one other than Wahlstrom (save for Barzal) has the potential to score every time he touches the puck. He gives the Islanders a sniper’s chance. On a team that struggles to score goals that skill is invaluable. These line changes must be made quickly and permanently to allow the players a chance to mesh before the playoffs start.
Lastly, I am perplexed at who Coach Trotz sent out in the 1-0 shootout loss. Only Anthony Beauvillier with his speed and on-ice moves made sense. Where was Barzal? Where was Palmieri? If Palmieri is not going to play on the top line and not get the puck in the shootout, why did Lou trade for him? Palmieri is a top-line player and scorer. We need to lean on him a bit more. If I’m going to lose in a shootout, it’s going to be with my best scorers taking the shots.