Last season, we saw the NY Islanders defensive corps producing offensively like they haven't done in quite some time. Through the early portion of the season, the Isles defensemen were near the top of the league in point production. In the early days of this season, nearly all production has gone out the window, with the exception of Noah Dobson.
Through five games, Dobson has produced a point-per-game, scoring once and adding four assists. Outside of Dobson, the Isles' defense has only been responsible for two points - both assists by Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock.
Not only are the defensemen not distributing the puck to teammates in favorable scoring positions, but Dobson, who has 13 shots on goal, has nearly double the amount of his fellow defensemen. Alexander Romanov, who has yet to record a point, is next on the list with seven. None of Sebastian Aho, Samuel Bolduc, Pulock, or Pelech have more than five.
Struggling immensely on special teams in the early parts of this season, the Isles sit 27th in the NHL on the power play (12.5%) and 29th on the penalty kill (68.8%). While the fault isn't directly on the defense for the lousy start, they've also shown their inadequacies at even strength, which has typically been a strength.
The Isles' most trusted defensemen in Pelech has floundered while playing extra minutes in the absence of Scott Mayfield. Aside from being on the ice for five Colorado Avalanche goals last night, he's been on the ice for eight goals this season at 5v5, according to Natural Stat Trick. It's a team effort, but these aren't numbers we've seen in the past, as he's been so reliable every night. The only defenseman without a blemish on his 5v5 goals against is Romanov, yet he's only been on the ice for one goal for.
When the team seems to be scoring, the defense has leaked like a sieve. While the defense is on lockdown, goals have been challenging to come by. It's difficult to lay all the blame on the defense in the Islanders' inconsistent start to the season, but their play has been far from acceptable on an overall scale.