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Islanders Scott Mayfield Deserves Love For His Playoff Performance

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MAY 22: Ilya Sorokin #30 and Scott Mayfield #24 of the New York Islanders celebrate a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum on May 22, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MAY 22: Ilya Sorokin #30 and Scott Mayfield #24 of the New York Islanders celebrate a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum on May 22, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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During the regular season for the New York Islanders, Scott Mayfield had a really rough go of it. Sure, in 56 games he put up 15 points (2 goals, 13 assists) and was a plus-2 but that doesn’t indicate the whole story.

Excluding Thomas Hickey, Sebastian Aho, and Braydon Coburn (all played five games or fewer) here is how Scott Mayfield ranks for the Islanders defensemen in these key categories.

CF% – 46.7 (5th)

GF% – 50.0 (5th)

SCF% – 49.5 (4th)

XGA – 32.8 (5th)

Far too often when you had a pair hemmed in, a bad turnover, an icing, or a penalty it was Scott Mayfield on the other end. Normally, a steady second or third pair defenseman Mayfield was nowhere near his normal self.

That is until the playoffs started. He’s been one of the better defensemen for the Islanders through the first five games of the series and he deserves some praise for it.

He’s got 4 points to his name (1 goal, 3 assists) and is a plus-6 so far.

Looking at the advanced number we had earlier during the regular season, we’ve seen a massive improvement.

CF% – 46.5 (1st)

GF% – 71.4 (1st)

SCF% – 49.5 (1st)

xGA – 3.5 (3rd)

This is what the Islanders need from Mayfield. They need him as a steady, stay-at-home defenseman. They’ve benefitted from a rare scoring stretch from him, but I’ll even be fine if that cools off.

What we’re looking for is him not being a liability with the puck on his stick or when he’s on the ice. He’s been far from that, a net positive if you will so far in the playoffs.

What’s interesting with Mayfield, is yes he struggled this regular season but with his cap hit ($1.45 million for two more seasons) he is still a valuable third-pair guy (in my eyes). That would mean seeing next year:

Pelech – Pulock

Leddy – Dobson

____ – Mayfield

Preferably, it would be one of Samuel Bolduc or Robin Salo who could fill in on the third pair with Mayfield while Noah Dobson gets a slightly larger role and increased ice time.

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Anyway, while I understand it’s been easy to pick on Mayfield this year (sometimes for good reason) he’s been very solid in the playoffs so far and deserved some praise.

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