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Islanders could have deepest goal-scoring group in NHL

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MARCH 02: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders celebrates his game winning goal with Jordan Eberle #7,Mathew Barzal #13 and Noah Dobson #8 in the third period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on March 02, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey.Due to COVID-19 restrictions a limited number of fans are allowed to attend. The New York Islanders defeated the New Jersey Devils 2-1. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MARCH 02: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders celebrates his game winning goal with Jordan Eberle #7,Mathew Barzal #13 and Noah Dobson #8 in the third period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on March 02, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey.Due to COVID-19 restrictions a limited number of fans are allowed to attend. The New York Islanders defeated the New Jersey Devils 2-1. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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With all due respect but when you think about the New York Islanders you don’t think of them as an offensive force in the NHL. And for good reason. Since 2018-19 the Islanders rank 24th in the NHL for goals scored.

But things could be very different this season. I won’t say they’ll have the best offensive group in the NHL, but they could have the deepest offensive core in the NHL. Let me explain why I think that.

New York Islanders can have deepest O-core in the NHL

By keeping Kyle Palmieri and with the inevitable growth in Oliver Wahlstrom‘s game, the New York Islanders can easily be looking at a group of seven 20 goal scorers this year. Of course, some might hit higher than 20, but it’s expected they’ll at least hit 20 goals over the season.

Here’s my list of expected 20 goal scorers for the Isles:

Most of these names are easy to justify. They’re all career 20+ goal scorers. Wahlstrom and Pageau are perhaps the ones that might not hit 20, but even then I have a hard time believing that. Both put up a 20+ goal season last year.

Wahlstrom: 12 goals in 44 games = Pace of 22 goals
Pageau: 14 goals in 54 games = Pace of 21 goals

So, it’s easy to think that the Islanders can be sitting with seven 20+ goal scorers for the 2021-22 season. That’s a lot. Like a ridiculous amount of 20 goal scorers. In the last full NHL season (2018-19) only one team had seven 20+ goal-scorers; the Washington Capitals. No team had more than seven. (Only one team had six 20+ goal-scorers in 18-19.)

Few teams have the sort of goal-scoring depth the Islanders will have in 2021-22. They’ll easily be one of the deepest O-cores in the NHL.

What about Zach?

And I didn’t even bring up Zach Parise yet. The 37-year-old has clearly lost a step from the 94 point player he was in 2008-09, but he’s still an effective third liner that can find the back of the net. Can a motivated Parise put in 20 goals? I don’t think it’s a guarantee, but I’m bringing him up because it’s a real possibility that he could.

He may have only scored seven last season, but he’s two seasons removed from 25 goals. Last year, Parise saw his role decrease nearly game-over-game for the Wild. That won’t be the case on the Island. Can he get back to that 2020-21 form that saw him score 12 PP goals and 25 across all situations? Why not?

He’ll surely have a consistent role at 5on5 with consistent minutes. He’ll have better linemates in Pageau and Wahlstrom, and he’ll certainly get power play time as well. Again, I don’t think it’s a sure thing that he’ll get back to 20 goals, but it’s easy to talk myself into it.

Add a 20 goal Parise to the Islanders O-core and look out.

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