The expectation at the start of the season was that the New York Islanders would make the playoffs and even push for a Stanley Cup. That isn't going to happen this year. Unless the Isles go on some sort of a miraculous run and teams in a playoff spot ahead of them totally fall off. Both of them happening at the same time is well...unlikely.
The team won't hit the expectation that was set for it in October, but that doesn't mean some of the individuals on the team won't. Of course, with a team underperforming there won't be many players who will achieve the expectations set for them in October. But some, a few, will. Here are three that will achieve expectations this year.
New York Islanders: Three players that will achieve expectations
In 44 games this year, Dobson has 23 points. A pace of 42 points over this season. Going into the year the hope was that Dobson could step up and contribute like a top-four defenseman. But could he do so while playing a top-four role? Could he do so without needing to be sheltered?
With Ryan Pulock's injury and a long recovery, Dobson had to step up and become that player. There was no choice but to put him up in the top four and see if he'll sink or swim. And boy did he swim. He's averaging over 21 minutes a night now while putting up top-end production from the blue line.
He'll hit and maybe even exceed expectations for him on the year.
Nelson is 30 now so it wouldn't be right to ask more from him. Players at this stage of their careers aren't necessarily getting better. They're mainly at the tail end of their peak. So the expectation is for him to be just as good as he's been the past few years.
So what does: "As good as he's been the past few years" actually mean? Can he be a solid two-way player and keep up his scoring touch with 20-25 goals and about 50 points?
So far so good on all fronts with Brock Nelson. His 54.05 xGF% (At 5on5) when he's on the ice leads the team. He's got 18 goals in 37 games, a pace of 40 goals. He's also up to 27 points, a pace of 60 points over the year.
That's a heck of a jump from last year, at least in terms of production. Nelson has been a strong two-way player for a few years now so thinking he could keep it up wasn't a stretch. But last year, Nelson's production was a bit low. His 48 point pace was low from the 50+ point player he was the two years prior. Could he bounce back this year? Yup! Yes, he can and has, even before the year is over.
Was his first year in the NHL a fluke? He only played 22 games so it was possible that Sorokin's 0.918SV% and 2.17GAA was exactly that; a fluke. So this year the expectation was: could he keep that up and even do better?
Through 33 games, the Islanders goalie holds a 0.921SV% and a 2.43GAA. He's had his shaky moments of course. But from a pure numbers game Sorokin has kept up his form from year one. What he did during the 2020-21 season wasn't a fluke.