Heading into this season all fans of the New York Islanders knew what their biggest issue had been the previous seasons.
Outside of superstar John Tavares, the New York Islanders didn’t have many consistent scorers to depend on. As each of the previous seasons went by, it was certain that one or more Islanders would be in a major scoring drought.
However, the 2017-18 season so far has been dramatically different.
Six New York Islanders currently have 14 or more points this season. Only the Tampa Bay Lighting has as many players with 14 points as they have seven. No other team has six or more and two teams (Montreal and Columbus) don’t even have one player with as many as 14 points.
The New York Islanders have scored five or more goals eight times already this season. They did so just 10 times all of last season. Their scoring has been very evenly distributed as 16 different New York Islanders have scored a goal and eight players have scored four or more goals.
In past seasons John Tavares would usually be paired with a bunch of different players to try and find a few teammates that could click. This season the New York Islanders first line has been awesome. The combination of Tavares, Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle has combined to score 29 goals so far this season. Josh Bailey has also seen some time on the first line and he currently leads the Islanders with 16 assists, so whoever has been paired with Tavares this season has flourished.
The New York Islanders second line that combines rookie of the year candidate Matthew Barzal, Andrew Ladd and either Eberle or Bailey features players that all have at least three goals and eight points each.
The New York Islanders fourth line of Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera and Cal Clutterbuck has even gotten in on the scoring surge as that line has combined for seven goals and 16 points so far this season. Not bad for a checking line.
Last season the New York Islanders averaged just 2.9 goals per game. In 2015-16, the Islanders averaged just 2.7 goals per game. In 2014-15 they averaged 3.0 goals a game. In 2013-14 it was 2.6 goals per game. So far this season they are averaging a half a goal more than they did last season at 3.6 goals per game. That’s good enough for second highest in the NHL. Quite a difference.
If seeing the totals so far doesn’t excite Islanders fans enough, things should improve even more with the consistent presence of Joshua Ho-Sang. One of the Islanders fastest and most skilled young players, Ho-Sang should pair brilliantly with Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier.
The other reason for New York Islanders fans to be excited is that their power play hasn’t clicked yet either. Their 12 power play goals this season ranks 19th in the NHL.
In an Eastern Conference that features high-scoring teams like Tampa Bay, Toronto, Ottawa, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers; consistent scoring is needed to make a run through the playoffs. New York Islanders fans hope the strong offensive start to this season is just the beginning.