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Islanders power play will be huge asset in 2021-22

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 30: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders skates during warm ups before the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 30, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 30: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders skates during warm ups before the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 30, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders power play has been an issue for years now. Since 2018-19 and through the 2020-21 seasons, the Isles hold a 16.5% efficiency on the man advantage. That ranks them 26th in the NHL.

Again, the power play has been an issue for the Isles. But this year. This year could be, no, should be different. They won’t have the best power play in the NHL, but with some of the additions they’ve made and with one key returnee, the Isles will have a power play that ranks in the top half of the league.

New York Islanders power play will be powerful in 2021-22

For 2021-22 Anders Lee will be back. Already the addition of Lee is a massive win for the Isles PP. In 27 games last year Lee had three power-play goals. A pace of nine over a full 82 game season. Remember, he had two PPGs in 56 games two years ago.

In those 27 games with Lee on the ice, the Isles power play was effective 21.9% of the time. Ranked 15th in the NHL. When Lee went down, the Isles PP efficiency dropped to 15.5%. Lossing Lee was a massive loss for the Isles. Getting him back will be a massive gain.

We also can’t forget about the impact that Oliver Wahlstrom had on the man-advantage in his rookie year. With four PPGs, Wahlstrom ranked third on the team. Yeah, third.

With Lee and Wahlstrom and the addition of Palmieri and Parise, the Isles two PP units should look like so:

PP1

Mathew Barzal
Anders Lee
Oliver Wahlstrom
Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Ryan Pulock

PP2

Brock Nelson
Anthony Beauvillier
Kyle Palmieri
Zach Parise
Noah Dobson

Now, consider those lineups to what the Islanders rolled out in 2020-21. Gone are Jordan Eberle (Seattle) and Josh Bailey.

Eberle wasn’t much of a factor on the PP last year with five points (7th), creating seven iHDCF (7th) and 18 iSCF (6th), and converting on33% of his ixGF.

Josh Bailey was more productive with nine PPP, but his underlying numbers are much worse than Eberle’s from last year:

  • 2 iHDCF (10th)
  • 11 iSCF (9th)
  • 1.45 ixGF (8th)
  • Converted 0% of his xGF

(Stats from NaturalStatTrick)

Taking Josh Bailey out might not sound great based on his production last year, but his impact wasn’t good enough to justify keeping him out there over others. His decision-making along the right flank – routinely holding the puck for too long – was an issue all year. And look, as much as I like Bailey, I know he isn’t a goal threat, and the Isles need that from everyone on the PP.

The biggest risk I can see in this lineup is giving Noah Dobson so much ice time. Is he ready to be the second most important defenseman on the PP? I think so, but I can also see how that could be risky.

But, what is clear here is the Islanders ability to ice two units full of goal threats. Even Parise who didn’t score a PP goal last year. He’s two years removed from scoring 12 though. Its possible age has caught up to him, but the Isles feel it hasn’t, and I’m in no place to doubt them.

Again, the Islanders power play won’t be the best in the NHL, but with the return of Lee, another year of Wahlstrom, Palmieri and Parise, as well as everyone else they already have at their disposal, thinking they can score on 20+% of their opportunities is a fair expectation.

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