The third line has gone through a minor change in the offseason. Veteran winger Zach Parise was brought in after being bought out by the Minnesota Wild. The veteran winger is, at least on paper, a big upgrade for Leo Komarov.
Komarov’s grittiness is certainly better than Parise’s but, the latter’s production is much better than Komarov’s. In a down year, Parise put up 18 points in 45 games. Komarov has put up 22 points since 2019-20.
The three players are in the top five in terms of expected goals-for:
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau: 66.55 (1st)
- Zach Parise: 58.89 (2nd)
- Oliver Wahlstrom: 52.51 (5th)
(ata from NaturalStatTrick.)
Keep in mind that they’re achieving these numbers while spending most of the time in the defensive zone. According to Hockey-Reference, the zone time is leaning quite heavily on the defensive side for the two veterans (70.8% and 62.2% for Pageau and Parise respectively).
That’s a great sign for the Islanders. The top line is already working well enough. We know the second line can be good (they haven’t yet). We also know very well that the fourth line can take over a game. With this third line clicking, the Islanders are unmatched in their depth.
Now. If only this team can figure out how to play defense all these positives should put them into the win column a number of times this season.