Barry Trotz tossed the lines in a blender against the Vancouver Canucks. The Isles coach was looking to spread out some of that "New York Islanders Identity" from the fourth line to the rest of the team. And it worked with a 6-3 win over the Canucks.
But after Barry took the lines out of the blender and put them on the game sheet only one of the team's forward lines remained intact. It wasn't the top line or the second line. It was the team's third line that remained unchanged. The trio of Zach Parise, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Oliver Wahlstrom were untouched. Why didn't they get a dose of "Islanders Identity"?
New York Islanders third line remains untouched
Clearly, Barry Trotz likes the trio. I think that's obvious. He likes their work ethic and how they create opportunities. And look, there's a lot to like there. According to MoneyPuck, the Islanders third line is the tenth best line in the NHL for xGF%.
There are no filters here. There's no cap for a minimum number of games or minutes together. This is just the best forward line in xGoals% and the Islanders third line of Parise-Pageau-Wahlstrom ranks tenth best in the entire league. The paper test matches the eye test.
The work they put in off the puck is resulting in chances with the puck. It's right out of the Gospel of Trotz. That's how Trotz wants his players to work. He's only repeated it to us a thousand times over the last three years.; "play the right way and production will come".
Of course, they aren't perfect. Oliver Wahlstrom still has a few things to clean up in his game but at 21 years old did anyone expect his game to be perfect?
Trotz didn't break up that line to give it a jolt of "identity" because, to put it plainly, they already have it. They've never swayed from it.