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Islanders Move Zach Parise to Top Line in Practice

BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT - OCTOBER 02: (L-R) Zach Parise #11 and Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders look up at the scoreboard during the first period against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason game at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard on October 02, 2021 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT - OCTOBER 02: (L-R) Zach Parise #11 and Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders look up at the scoreboard during the first period against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason game at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard on October 02, 2021 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Well, the New York Islanders have decided to make a change to the lines and honestly, it’s not a bad idea. Over the past three games, they have just four goals, and three of them are from Anders Lee. It’s likely a safe call that the Isles need a spark offensively.

Today at practice, Barry Trotz decided to put Zach Parise up with Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal while Josh Bailey got some work in with the JG Pageau line.

Many are looking at this as a wake-up call for Josh Bailey who hasn’t been very good since getting placed on the top line. Yes, he has six points (1 goal, 5 assists) on the entirety of the season but the numbers up with Barzal and Lee weren’t great.

In 70:46 together, they had just a 43.6 CF%, a 41.0 xGF%, and a 36.4 HDCF% according to Natural Stat Trick. Neither of these three numbers are ideal for a top unit on a team.

Now, on an individual basis, Zach Parise has been one of the better Islanders in these advanced metrics. He has a 48.8 CF% (3rd), 60.6 xGF% (1st), and a 55.6 HDCF% (4th). The points haven’t exactly been there with just two assists in 11 games but nobody can really say he hasn’t been driving offense.

Unfortunately, there are some online who have clamored that Parise hasn’t been good. I thoroughly disagree and think it’s only a matter of time that we see the production catch up to where his play really has been.

He wasn’t brought in here to be a 30 goal scorer but perhaps he can both jump-start his season and the Islanders’ top line by being added to Barzal’s wing. Josh Bailey is someone who at this point in his career seems like a perfect third-line player anyway.

For Monday, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw something like:

Lee – Barzal – Parise

Beauvillier – Nelson – Palmieri

Bailey – Pageau – Wahlstrom

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

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