3 reasons why the Islanders can hang onto a wild card spot and make the NHL playoffs

Three-quarters of the way through the 2023-24 season, the New York Islanders remain one of a few bubble teams trying to break into the NHL playoffs.

Mar 14, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA;  New York Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho (25) takes a shot
Mar 14, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho (25) takes a shot / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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The Isles have more playmakers than their numbers show

When you take one look at the Islanders numbers, you will look away and write them off as nothing more than a fringe wild card contender. This team currently ranks 20th in goals scored and goals against, and next to their stellar goaltending at 5-on-5, nothing of note jumps out. 

Yet this isn’t to say the Isles don’t have enough playmakers who can help them make a serious run at not only the playoffs, but perhaps a top-three finish in the Metropolitan. Their top points producers, Mathew Barzal and Noah Dobson, are each on pace to snag well over 60 assists this season, and that’s just the beginning. 

Bo Horvat and Brock Nelson have been scoring goals nearly every other game, on average, while Kyle Palmieri and Barzal have also found the net 20 times. While you would like to see Ilya Sorokin end up with a better GAA than the 2.99 he’s currently dealing with, the 28-year-old has been stellar at 5-on-5, one of the positives the team analytics show. 

Playmakers, especially those with experience, are ideal assets for a team that needs to at least hang onto their wild card spot, if not leapfrog the Philadelphia Flyers to finish in the top three.

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