It's the offseason, so it's time to review how things went during the year for the New York Islanders. It's report card time! So before we get to the individual players I thought I'd start out with the full team and then zoom in on the players afterward.
As with any report card, there are a number of "subjects" that need to be graded to make up a final grade. Can't just say "they get an F" and then dip. These are the categories I'm going to grade the team on:
Creating Opportunities (system)
New York Islanders 2021-22 Team Report Card
The Islanders scored 229 goals (in all situations) on the year, ranking their general offense 22nd in the NHL. Which is right about where they've been over the last four years.
We know scoring that this scoring rate can support a winning record. So while the goal return was low I can't give them a failing grade for it. Again, this has been good enough for a winning record in the past.
Of course, that doesn't mean they deserve a good passing grade. If they had more goals in them it may have covered some of the other issues on the team so I think a D is fair here.
The Isles actually finished seventh in goals against and tenth in goals against per game in the NHL this year (from lowest to highest). I honestly thought it would be lower than this. Comparing that to total goals against over the previous three seasons shows this isn't normal for the Isles:
It also highlights just how important defense is to this team. Even dropping to seventh in goals-against while getting average offense (for them) can absolutely sink them. The Isles just don't have the goal support to make up for even a slightly weaker defense. So I think it's fair to give them an F here.
Special Teams: A
Why does this matter? Well, a good portion of the game is played either up a skater or down one. We've also seen the Islanders season end because of a poor PK, and how a better power play can help this team.
On the power play, the Isles did very well. Their 22.1% on the PP ranked them 12th in the NHL. Yeah, top half. While improvements have been made since they basically bottomed out in 18-19, this is a big jump to average above a 21% efficiency.
We don't need the Islanders power play to be one of the best in the league, but seeing it in the top half allows the Isles to actually punish teams for taking penalties against them. The Isles haven't benefited from that for years.
The PK has always been a strength for the Isles under Barry Trotz, which isn't much of a surprise considering his defensive approach to the game. Finishing fourth with an 84.2% efficiency in 21-22 is excellent considering the weaker D-core the team ran out this season.
An A is absolutely deserved for the Isles special teams play this year.
Creating opportunities (system): F
This is the bread and butter of the Islanders system. And the system is the bread and butter of the Islanders. Looking at the chances created versus how many they gave up allows us to see if the system worked this season. What I'm looking at is 5on5 HDCF% over on NaturalStatTrick.
This is the first year the Isles system just flat out didn't work. Every other year the opportunities created were above those given up. You can see here that this is the only season below-50%:
21-22: 47.76 20th
20-21: 56.21 2nd
19-20: 50.08 18th
18-19: 52.52 12th
So that's not going to be a passing grade for the system.
FINAL GRADE: D
Two fails a D and an A barely pushes the Isles above the fail line. They'd have a GPA of 1.25 in this case. Anything below 0.7 is a fail.
There's no mistake this has been a bad season. There are a few things to be glad about which is why they didn't absolutely fail on the year.