After the New York Islanders fell 3-2 in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz was fairly critical of his second line. It’s rare that we see Trotz call someone out, especially a veteran but in this case it was necessary.
Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, and Anthony Beauvillier have essentially been nonexistent through the first four games of the season, and the coach hinted at changes.
I mean this is fairly harsh, it’s not wrong but it’s strong words from the Islanders bench boss. So far this year, the line has an expected goals percentage of 30, which is well behind the Parise-Pageau-Wahlstrom line and Lee-Barzal-Palmieri line.
When looking at goals percentage, it gets worse. Both the first and third lines are at 50 percent or better while the Nelson line is at just 16.7 percent. Considering this is the line that’s gotten the most ice time out of all the Isles combinations this year that is downright embarrassing.
So if Barry Trotz truly does want to change some things up, perhaps the most obvious thing could be swapping Oliver Wahlstrom and Josh Bailey. Here’s how the two compare with some of their advanced numbers:
Oliver Wahlstrom: 52.34 CF%, 60.0 GF%, 54.88 xGF%, 51.16 SCF%, 50.0 HDGF%
Josh Bailey: 31.43 CF%, 14.29 GF%, 36.69 xGF%, 36.84 SCF%, 16.67 HDGF%
I don’t want to be that guy but Josh Bailey has been downright awful to start the season. A demotion could be in his best interest at this point and playing him third-line minutes is probably a fair response to his play at this point in his career.
I’m apprehensive to split up the Parise – Pageau – Wahlstrom line because they’ve been so good but if Trotz is adamant about shaking things up, this is the move that makes the most sense for them.
I mean, this is what happened when Oliver Wahlstrom ended up with Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson on a shift. It might not be the worst thing in the world.