As the New York Islanders get yet another long break without any games, the team is just starting to get hot. The difference with the youth in the lineup is night and day, with more energy and a lively forecheck to complement their game.
It was pretty evident at the beginning of the year that Barry Trotz's defensive style was not going to work with this lineup. The team could not generate any offense or good forechecking, and the defense is not good enough to solely win games. Injuries and COVID-19 protocols forced the Islanders to make moves to their roster, and they seem to be working.
Noah Dobson has stepped up tremendously as of late, really bringing out an offensive side that fans and management had hoped for. His defense has gotten better, but it's his confidence on offense that was showcased in the month of December. The loss of Nick Leddy hurt a lot, but when a healthy Ryan Pulock comes back, the Islanders will have two capable offensive D-men.
Islanders Must Stick With Youth To Go On A Run
Guys like Kieffer Bellows and Robin Salo have also given the Islanders a tremendous boost, with Bellows playing with confidence and putting up points. Salo was called up due to circumstance and has filled his role as best the team could ask for and more.
We can just admit that the Kyle Palmieri signing was a bust and figure out what to do with Kyle as the season goes on. He is not producing and simply doesn't have it anymore. Keep him on the bench unless an injury forces Trotz to put him in the lineup.
The Islanders need to stick with the youth, and not put all the pressure on a defense to win games without any offense or solid forecheck. The goaltending is great as always, and this new speed and energy should continue in the lineup for the foreseeable future.