Next up for the New York Islanders report cards is Casey Cizikas. The center and driving force of the Isles much-heralded fourth line was asked again to do what we all know he can do; play a physical high-pressure game and provide some depth offense.
New York Islanders 21-22 report card: Casey Cizikas is OK thanks to solid defense
Cizikas scored ten goals and 16 points on the season. Two more points than he scored in 19-20 and 20-21. But as we know both of those seasons were shorter than this one. When you look at the goal and points-per-game rates, the goal-scoring is up (slightly) but points production has been going down consistently since 2018-19.
I'm not going to give Cizikas a fail for dropping down offensively. His game isn't to provide offense. But dropping down to 17 points over a season is not enough. D
Cizikas had the fifth-best relative xGA/60 at 5on5 for the Isles group of forwards at -0.51. That means only four players allowed fewer expected goals against at 5on5 on a per-60 basis relative to the rest of the forwards on the team than Cizikas. And two of those guys were Leo Komarov and Andy Andreoff who combined for seven games played this season.
Considering Cizikas starts 74% of his shifts* in the D-zone and with the way the Islanders play and how important solid defensive play is to the system, having such a solid xGA rate is excellent.
*This does not count on-the-fly starts.
Cizikas was easily one of the better defensive forwards on the team. He's still excelling at taking tough defensive matchups and making them effectively disappear for the opposition. That's A-level stuff from Cizikas.
Impact vs. Reliance: C+
Looking at his average game score (0.18) Cizikas ranked 13th for forwards, 12th if you take out Czarnik and his eleven games played on the year. Compare to his average total ice time he ranks 12th for the Islanders forwards.
Cizikas's impact matched his reliance on the year. I was going to give him a B for that, but with how low his reliance was it seems like could have been easy enough to push above that and have a larger impact. I'm not going to dock him too hard for that so I think a C+ is fair.
Final Grade: C+
A C+ is a fine grade for Cizikas who didn't have a banner year in terms of offense and ran to the box at an uncharacteristically high rate this year. A C+ is a win for Cizikas in 2021-22.