Earlier on Thursday, a list of the most overrated players for all 32 NHL teams was making the rounds online. For the New York Islanders, Josh Bailey was the pick for the most overrated player. And as a self-appointed “Bailey-ber” I love that pick.
But it got me thinking who are underrated on the Islanders roster? So here are three players that I thought could are underrated.
Three underrated played for the New York Islanders
These picks aren’t necessarily directed at Islanders fans. It’s more directed at how hockey fans outsides of the fanbase might see some of our players.
I think this even applies to Islanders fans. Sure, we see Ryan Pulock as an elite defenseman. But we don’t see him as a top-end offensive defenseman. Specifically, after last year where he scored two goals and 17 points over 56 games (that’s a 25 point pace).
But Pulock can easily be a 10+ goal scorer and 40+ point player. Because he was one just two years ago. And with a better offensive line, he can certainly put up more. Pulock has the ability to be a 50-60 point defender with a more productive top-six in front of him. Easy.
That’s what makes him underrated. Everyone knows him for his strong defensive play, but he can be more than that.
This one is purely directed at those outside of the Islanders fanbase. Because while they might – correctly – identify that Jean-Gabriel Pageau is an excellent two-way player, they always discredit his offensive abilities.
The narrative that has existed since Pageau was traded to the Islanders (he’ll never reproduce what he did in Ottawa that year) has continued to unfairly follow him. Remember, that year Pageau had 24 goals and 40 points in 60 games while averaging more than 19 minutes a night with the Senators.
Last year in his first “full” year on the Island, Pageau put up 14 goals and 28 points in 54 games. That’s a pace of 21 goals and 43 points. And sure, that’s not matching that career year in Ottawa, but it would be his second-best year outside of that career year while playing just over two minutes less a night.
And that’s not counting how impressive he’s been in the playoffs.
Pageau is underrated. As is his PagerTrain nickname.
We all know Casey Cizikas as the beating heart of the team. The center for the team’s wildly important identity line. He’s an incredible fourth-line center who can pop in 20+ goals over a full season. Since Barry Trotz took over, Cizikas has 37 goals in 177 games, that’s basically a 17 goal player. And he doesn’t average more than 15 minutes a night.
And those nights are spent – with all due respect – playing alongside Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck. Both are good players to have but they aren’t the best offensive players. Could you imagine Casey Cizikas playing alongside better players?
Cizikas is easily an underrated player for the Islanders. Which is wild considering how much he’s already appreciated on the Island.