The New York Islanders have high expectations for the 2021-2022 season. There’s no denying what this team’s goal is. They came very close the last two seasons but there’s only one more job remaining and that’s to win the whole thing.
This year, the Islanders’ defensive core is going to look slightly different. Nick Leddy is gone, traded away to Detroit, they brought back Andy Greene who is just a couple of weeks away from turning 39 and they added Zdeno Chara who will turn 45 in March of this year.
Lou Lamoriello was asked if he thought that he could trust Chara and Greene to play 75+ games each, to which Lou seemed confident that they would.
That sounds like a lot of games for two defensemen who are up there in age, but Lamoriello is confident in his guys. Luckily, both of these two have been fairly healthy. Here’s how each has faired over the past few years
2021: 55 of 56 games (98.2 percent)
2020: 63 of 68 (92.6 percent)
2019: 82 of 82 (100 percent)
2018: 81 of 82 (98.8 percent)
2017: 66 of 82 (80.5 percent)
5-year average: 94 percent
2021: 55 of 56 (98.2 percent)
2020: 68 of 70 (97.1 percent)
2019: 62 of 82 (75.6 percent)
2018: 73 of 82 (89 percent)
2017: 75 of 82 (91.5 percent)
5-year average: 90.2 percent
Now, for both of these guys to hit 75 games this year, they’d have to play in 91.5 percent of the Islanders games this year. That is a touch above where Chara has been over the last five years but specifically in the last two seasons, Chara has done a good job of staying healthy.
It was a fair question to ask Lou Lamoriello considering the age of these two, and there’s really no way to tell just yet. Based on the two guys’ history, Greene is likely to see a tad bit more time than Chara.
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The Islanders do have some depth where you can spot start Sebastian Aho, or maybe even Robin Salo if he develops quickly in the AHL for a few games if need be.