NY Islander's Plus/Minus for 2023-24: Casey Cizikas can contribute more offense

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages
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As one of the longest-tenured Islanders, Casey Cizikas has become an integral part of the team's identity both on and off the ice. Centering Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck for most of his career, "Zeeker" has demonstrated the ability to leave his mark on a game in multiple ways. However, last season, he had his worst offensive season since the 2013-14 season and needs to chip in more scoring for an Islanders team that needs offense across all four lines.

Cizikas scored just six goals and 15 assists for the Islanders during the 2022-23 season after scoring 10 in 74 games in 2021-22. He scored 20 goals back in the 2018-19 season and followed it up with 10 goals in just 48 games played the following year. There's some offensive skill to his game and he needs to rediscover it for next season.

After battling injuries in recent seasons, the 32-year-old forward played in all but one game during the 2022-23 season. He missed one game against the Florida Panthers on December 23, 2022, after suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury against the New York Rangers the previous night. Luckily, Cizikas returned to the lineup five days later to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins and was able to remain healthy for the rest of the season, including the first round of the 2023 playoffs.

With some younger potential fourth-liners in Simon Holmstrom and newly acquired Julien Gauthier competing ice-time, Cizikas might see a rotation of linemates more frequently this season in place of Martin and Clutterbuck, two veterans on the final year of his contract.

As we head into the 2023-24 season, lets look at the pluses and minuses to Cizikas' game.

PLUS: Penalty Killing and Face-offs

Successful penalty killing is vital to the overall success of a team, and no one understands that better than Cizikas. He centers the first penalty-killing unit for the Islanders alongside Cal Clutterbuck on his right, and Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock on defense.

The Islanders had an 82.2% penalty-kill percentage over the course of the last season, finishing with the 9th best penalty kill in the league. Cizikas can be credited for many of those kills, often putting his whole body on the line while killing penalties. He's fearless and willing to block every puck that comes his way, and he has even lost a glove once or twice in the process.

Cizikas is also a secret weapon (of sorts) for the islanders in the face-off dot. Though the team already boasts the top face-off center in JG Pageau and Bo Horvat, Cizikas took 939 face-offs, winning 53.3% of them last season. That gives head coach Lane Lambert a plethora of options during the course of the game, and Cizikas' face-off prowess helps support the PK on most nights.

MINUS - Too many penalties

While we value his aggressive play, Cizikas has been finding himself in the penalty box too often in recent seasons. The 2022-23 season saw the center's career high in penalty minutes per game since the shortened 2019-2020 season. This past season, Cizikas had 54 penalty minutes in 81 games played, which included two major penalties.

This was especially a problem in the first half of the season. Cizikas racked up 40 PIM in the first 33 games of the year, including a ten-minute major and a game misconduct on November 1st for goalie interference when he ran into Alex Stalock of the Chicago Blackhawks.

When Cizikas is in the penalty box, it means he's not killing penalties, requiring his teammates to step up in his absence. While playing the style of play Cizikas plays may require some pushing and shoving, the center must control his stick, his feet, and emotions a bit better this season and stay out of the penalty box.