NY Islanders News

What is the Islanders 6on5 plan exactly?

Vancouver Canucks v New York Islanders
Vancouver Canucks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Last night against the Vancouver Canucks, the New York Islanders were chasing a goal to level the game in the dying minutes. Down 4-3, they needed one more goal to force OT and at least earn a point. Something that could have been avoided if they hadn't lost their collective heads for a full minute in the third, but either way there they were down a goal.

As Semyon Varlamov skated to the bench for the extra skater, Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Zach Parise, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Noah Dobson were already on the ice. The extra skater coming over the boards for Varlamov was Josh Bailey.

Pardon? Josh Bailey isn't a bad player, but he's clearly going through a funk at the moment. Having him go over the boards was...a look. Not to mention that a very recent 6on5 outing for Bailey did not go well.

New York Islanders approach to 6on5 needs a change

In Colorado, just two days prior to this outing at home against the Canucks, Bailey gave up a clear scoring opportunity for...reasons and was then at fault for the Avalanche's empty-net goal with some poor neutral-zone play.

Why is Bailey going over the boards as the sixth man? Is he somehow a really good 6on5 player for the Islanders?

This year he's tied for the most production for forwards when playing with an empty net with two points. Both are secondary assists. In terms of use (TOI), he's the sixth most utilized forward after Lee, Barzal, Pageau, Nelson, and Wahlstrom (in order from most to least).

So we know they go to Bailey frequently enough when trying to find a goal with the net empty. Is he impactful when out there? And I don't mean production, what I mean is does he help create chances? He has 0 high-danger chances, 2 scoring chances, and three iCF (shot attempts). So not really.

What's clear is Bailey isn't a shot threat. But you already knew that. So it seems that the Islanders rationale for getting him out there is: he has -provided some production (remember those two points) - so he will continue to do so. Which seems a little misguided.

Because that negates context. Like how Kyle Palmieri has turned into a totally different player than he was at the start of the year. Over his last nine games, Palmieri has six goals and seven points. A run of form that should see him out there on the ice as much as possible. Yet he didn't jump over the boards for the 6on5.

If the "he-has-so-he-will" line is why Bailey is out there it's clear the "he-hasn't-so-he-won't" line is being used for Palmieri, which isn't quite fair. And while Palmieri did see 6on5 time against Buffalo, San Jose, and Colorado since his return to form, he's only totaled 56 seconds of 6on5 ice time in those three games.

Maybe next time they let Kyle run out there for a minutes plus like Bailey has done for the last two games.

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