It is no secret that the 2021 season is not going the way the New York Islanders or the fans thought it would. However, there is plenty of time to turn things back in the right direction. Perhaps this break will help the Islanders. If history has shown the fanbase anything, these Islanders do well after a pause. With that being said, after the break, the Islanders’ defensive core needs to contribute more.
The entire team needs to score more goals, but the defense has been anemic this season. Yes, Chara is old and has not looked the best, but the defensive core does not look like a Trotz-ran defense. If the defensive core isn’t contributing as much when it comes to stopping goals, they could at least contribute to deriving more offense.
New York Islanders need more from blue line
Noah Dobson (cue Dobby gif) leads the defense with 10 points. Granted, Mat Barzal leads the team with 17 but, that speaks to a more significant issue. For some perspective, Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay) and Adam Fox (Rangers) lead defensemen with 31 points. Even with six games in hand, Noah Dobson only having 10 points and leading the blue line is alarming.
Considering the Trotz system is restrictive, one thing is clear, the Islanders need to find a way to drive more offense from the backend. Will that come with the return of Ryan Pulock? Perhaps. Will Dobson continue to spark offensively? Perhaps. Can Salo turn into the offensive defenseman the team is hoping for? Hopefully.
There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, and most will take time to answer, and we need to be okay with that as a fanbase.
When the pause ends, we will be closer to the return of Pulock, and that needs to mean returning Pelech and Pulock as the top pair. Together the tandem is one of the best in the league.
Next, make a trade for another defenseman. Lastly, find a way to put the puck in the back of the net or, at the very least, get the puck towards the net for Anders Lee to finish.