New York Islanders: Analyzing the win against the Boston Bruins

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders have put themselves back in the win column after squeezing past the Boston Bruins. This is the Islanders’ first home win against the Bruins in 8 years. The Islanders only managed to put the puck behind Tukka Rask once. But, they only needed one goal to win, as Semyon Varlamov played another excellent game. Varlamov has played so well this season that he now holds the Islanders franchise record for most minutes played without a goal allowed.

Statistically, Varlamov is the best goalie in the NHL right now, holding a 1.000 save percentage and a 0.00 GAA. There was some great play from a few players, and also some bad play from a few players. The Islanders will be analyzed as a team through each period, not by individual performances.

First Period

The Islanders just looked absolutely rusty in the first period. Only 2 shots on net all period, and not much offensive zone time at all. There were a bunch of turnovers committed, and the defensemen couldn’t hold the blue line to save their lives. The only player who shined in this first period was, of course, Semyon Varlamov. He stopped all 10 shots that came his way and just overall looked very calm in between the pipes. Also, the penalty kill looked very good again.

Second Period

This felt like the fastest period I’ve ever seen in Hockey. I’m not saying that the time went off the clock very quickly. But, the tempo was increased dramatically. There was no whistle for over 3 minutes at one point. Chances back n’ forth for each team, none of them converting, and the Islanders missed the net on almost all their chances. It was a setup period for what happened in the third.

Third Period

The Islanders finally pieced it all together in this period. It’s hard to beat a team where everyone is giving 100% on every single shift. Players like Anders Lee, Adam Pelech, and even Jordan Eberle gave it everything they had. Cal Clutterbuck hit everything in his vision. Matt Martin surpassed 3,000 career hits, putting him in the top 5 of hits among active players. Varlamov continued to be solid in between the pipes. The forwards jumped up in the neutral zone to force turnovers, and the defensemen pinched up behind them. This all led to the lone goal of the night, a J.G. Pageau tip-in. Sometimes all you need is a lucky bounce to win, I’m sure the Islanders are glad that it went their way.

New York Islanders: Notes from Sunday’s practice

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders continued their training camp with another scrimmage yesterday. It was a “for real” scrimmage with the official game jersey’s given out to everyone participating. The teams were blue vs. white as always. The blue team’ forwards consisted of Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows, J.G. Pageau, Ross Johnston, Andrew Ladd, Otto Koivula, and Michael Dal Colle. The defenseman for the blue team: Nick Leddy, Scott Mayfield, Thomas Hickey, Bode Wilde, Sebastian Aho, and Grant Hutton. Semyon Varlamov was in between the pipes. Now, the forwards for the white team were: Mat Barzal, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, the fourth line, A.J. Greer, Austin Cznarik, Leo Komarov, and Simon Holmstrom. The defensive lineup consisted of Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Andy Greene, Noah Dobson, Parker Wotherspoon, and Samuel Bolduc. Ilya Sorokin was the starting goalie. This scrimmage got very interesting.

Goals

Jordan Eberle opened up the scoring by putting one past Semyon Varlamov on the opening shift. J.G. Pageau would then respond with the equalizer after scoring in his favorite spot, the crease. This was the first goal that Ilya Sorokin allowed all camp. When it rains, it pours, Grant Hutton put another one past Ilya Sorokin on a rush. Next, Kieffer Bellows believed he scored to open up the third period on Ilya Sorokin. This goal would end up counting. Then, Oliver Wahlstrom would pop out of the penalty box and score on Ilya Sorokin. This would effectively win the game for the blue team. The final score was 4-1.

Notes

Samuel Bolduc had an all-around great day, he even dumped Beauvillier to the ice after spinning away from him. The third line of Pageau, Wahlstrom, and Bellows all scored goals today and played excellent defense. Don’t be surprised if that’s the opening night third line. Although Ilya Sorokin let in 4 goals yesterday, he played very well and stopped many other scoring chances. Do not panic, Islander fans, it’s just a scrimmage. Semyon Varlamov played great yesterday and stopped nearly everything that came his way. Varlamov will get the opening night start, but Sorokin could play on Saturday. Noah Dobson and Ryan Pulock have been playing on the same PP unit, most likely the squad for opening night. Also, Casey Cizikas was involved in a three-way collision with Thomas Hickey and Matt Martin, his status is trending upwards.

Extra Notes

Josh Ho-Sang and Mason Jobst were put on waivers yesterday. I believe this will effectively end Ho-Sang’s time with the Islanders. Though Thomas Hickey has had a good camp, he will most likely be traded. Look for the Islanders to try and pick up someone on waivers today. Barry Trotz has stated that Bode Wilde could become the next John Carlson which is great news. Finally, the Islanders only have two more skates left before January 14th.

New York Islanders: Why the Islanders missed out on top free agents

Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders yet again missed out on another top tier free agent for what seems like the 20th year in a row. This time, it’s not because of poor team success or lack of an actual home stadium. No, this time there was a different reason for why the Isles couldn’t sign a top guy.

Mike Hoffman would’ve helped out the Islanders scoring situation tremendously. The same goes for Anthony Duclair and even Andreas Athanasiou. But, there’s no reason to look at the past and say who the Isles should’ve signed. There is one key reason why the Islanders couldn’t sign anyone of importance. It was a waiting game, and the season was announced before a key person was signed.

Mat Barzal

The Islanders couldn’t make a single move until their top guy actually re-signed. And as everyone knows, Mat Barzal still doesn’t have a contract. The Islanders weren’t going to make a move that took up a bunch of cap space until Barzal signed.

I’ve seen a bunch of people call for Lou Lamoriello’s head because he couldn’t sign Duclair for $1 million dollars. The Islanders aren’t loaded with cap space, every dollar counts for this team. The Isles only have around $9.5 million in cap space left, and their franchise guy hasn’t even signed yet.

Also, they still have deals for Matt Martin, Corey Schneider, and Andy Greene that still have to be made official. So, it’s not like the Islanders can just sign anyone they feel like. This isn’t NHL 21 connected franchise mode, there’s no option to play without a salary cap.

New York Islanders: Making the case for Max Pacioretty

Islanders, Max Pacioretty

The New York Islanders have two sizable problems going into the 2020-2021 season. One problem is that they don’t have a winger who can score at will. The other problem is that they don’t have the cap space to make a move to get one. But, luckily for them, the Islanders still have two second-round picks laying around from the Devon Toews trade.

What if I told you that there’s a way to kill two birds with one stone? That the Islanders can resign all their guys and still get a top 6 forward. Enter Max Pacioretty.

Scouting Report

Max Pacioretty was just an average top 6 forward who was declining with age when he was shipped to the Vegas Golden Knights. Then the 2019-2020 season hit, and Max Pacioretty broke out for the second time. It’s almost like he was reborn when he went to Vegas.

Well, there are two reasons for this. “Patches” got back to powerlifting, the thing that gave him his famous speed, and he had something to prove. Max Pacioretty turned back the clock 6 years. He played like a 26-year-old but had the experience of a 32-year-old. Max Pacioretty is exactly what Mat Barzal needs.

The Trade

Speaking of Mat Barzal, how can the Islanders retain his salary and take on Patches’? It’s actually a lot easier than you think. Barzal signs a bridge deal, 3 years $7 million. This deal works for both sides, Barzal gets a good amount of money, and the Isles still have cap space. Then, Matt Martin and Andy Greene both get $1.25 million for 1 year. Now, Andrew Ladd must be sent to LTIR, this deal doesn’t work without that. Next, Thomas Hickey, Leo Komarov, and Ross Johnston get sent down to the AHL. Finally, the Islanders trade both second-round picks and Robin Salo to Vegas in exchange for Max Pacioretty. The deal is done, the Islanders get everything they want, and the Island is happy.

New York Islanders: Is Casey Cizikas a cap casualty?

New York Islanders, Casey Cizikas

Casey Cizikas has been a New York Islander for over nine years now. Cizikas has been a fan favorite since the day he started because of his hard-hitting, brash style. Cizikas has made the MC^2 line one of the best in Hockey. But, now his spot is in danger due to Garth Snow’s terrible contract making decisions.

It’s crazy to think that Andrew Ladd may be the reason a true Islander has to leave the Island. Does any Islander fan want to see this? Definitely not, but that isn’t a choice, Cizikas’ spot is in danger.

Cap Issues

The Islanders have even less cap space to spend next year, but have the same amount of key players to resign. Adam Pelech and Anthony Beauvillier are obviously the priority in the 2021 offseason. Where does that put Cizikas? It puts him in the Devon Toews boat. The 3rd key guy, the Isles, must re-sign, but there’s no money to re-sign him. The Islanders must do everything in their power to move cap space in order to keep Cizikas. Andrew Ladd to Seattle and Johnny Boychuk to Ottawa.

The problem is, this isn’t NHL 21, you can’t just move players because you want them gone.

Injuries

Don’t get me wrong, I love Casey Cizikas as a player, but he does get hurt way too often. Cizikas has never once played a full 82 game season. It’s awesome having a great 4th line center, but it doesn’t mean much if he can’t get on the ice every night.

There are other younger guys like Mason Jobst and Otto Koviula who are ready to take a spot. I wouldn’t be surprised that if Cizikas got hurt this year, and one of the younger guys does well, that Cizikas gets traded. No Islander fan wants to see that happen, but the NHL is a business. Players come and go all the time.

New York Islanders: The Islanders’ plan for the rest of free agency

New York Islanders, Johnny Boychuk

The NHL 2020 free agency has officially hit a dead period. What do I mean by a dead period? I mean there’s absolutely nothing happening at all. This dead period is where New York Islanders‘ general manager Lou Lamoriello thrives. Lamoriello knows how to make a splash out of absolutely nowhere. I mean just a week ago, Devon Toews was traded out of nowhere. Lamoriello has something up his sleeves and all it takes is one move to put it all in motion. What is his true plan though?

Trading Away Johnny Boychuk and Leo Komarov

Oh, it’s a long-overdue move for the Islanders. If the Islanders can somehow dump both these players and retain no salary in return, Lamoriello will be one of the greatest general managers’s in Isles history. This move opens $9 million in cap space. Do you know who costs $9 million dollars? Mat Barzal.

It’s no secret that these two are on the trade block right now, but that doesn’t mean this move is bound to happen. Yes, I know for a fact there are a few suitors for Boychuk, but the deal isn’t right yet. Yes, I also know that at least one of the second-round picks from the Toews trade will be used to ship Boychuk off. Finally, I know that Leo Komarov will be moved with the other one.

Signing One Top Forward

There are only two top forwards left on the market. One doesn’t have an agent and the other one wants a one-year deal. The Islanders must sign either Anthony Duclair or Mike Hoffman. If the Islanders sign either one, this will end up being one of the most successful free agencies in a long time. I’d rather the Islanders sign Duclair, due to the fact that he has less of an ego. But, no one can complain if the Isles sign Hoffman.

Resign the Rest

Mat Barzal and Ryan Pulock will be resigned, but not yet. The Isles know that they’ll be able to retain both of their superstars. Knowing this, Lamoriello has decided to resign/sign other minor players. Islander fans, Barzal and Pulock are not going anywhere. Lamoriello has them in his pocket, it’s okay.

New York Islanders: Matt Martin reportedly preparing to sign

New York Islanders, Matt Martin

New York Islanders‘ long term enforcer, Matt Martin, is closing in on a contract to return to the Island. Martin is almost like the modern-day Mr. Islander. Every Islander fan loves him and wanted him to re-sign.

Lou Lamoriello is finally getting the deal done. Arthur Staple, longtime Islanders’ reporter, states that as many as 7 teams inquired on Martin last week. There have been reports that Martin took a hometown discount in order to return to the Island. I’ve projected his contract length and cap hit down below.

Length

This will not be a one year deal. It won’t be a one year deal because Ross Johnston won’t ever take his place. Isles fans have to be happy about this, though. Martin was one of the best players on the Islanders during the playoffs.

Martin is also lightyears better than Johnston. Yes, Johnston can hit pretty hard and fight everyone. Martin can actually forecheck effectively, score key goals, move the puck around, and still be a top enforcer in the league. This deal must be at least 2 years long. I wouldn’t be surprised if the deal is for 3 years. He’s a key piece on the Isles, and that needs to be recognized.

Cap Hit

As previously stated, Martin most likely took a hometown discount. This means he isn’t getting paid $3 million a year like his linemates. That doesn’t bother him though, he’d rather play on the Island than anywhere else. He’d take $700k from the Islanders before he takes $5 million from the Rangers. That’s loyalty in it’s purest form, and that’s why the fans love Martin.

No one wanted him to leave the first time, and no one wants to see him leave again. I believe Martin signed for $1.5 million a year. It’s a discount for him, but it gets the Islanders back a key piece in their lineup.

Why the New York Islanders likely elected to trade Devon Toews

New York Islanders, Devon Toews

The New York Islanders recently traded one of their “Big 3” RFA’s. Devon Toews was shipped off to Colorado for a second-round pick in 2021, and 2022. I don’t know many Islander fans who liked this move, but this move needed to happen, it’s just sad to see Garth Snow still ruining the Islanders.

The reason why Toews is not an Islander is because of Snow. Lou Lamoriello is still dealing with his terrible contract decisions. Sadly, he had to get rid of a good player to do this. But, there are other reasons Toews was traded yesterday.

Contract Arbitration

This was probably the deciding factor in moving Devon Toews. Not once was Toews mentioned in any trades until this happened. For those who don’t know, contract arbitration is a player not agreeing with the salary he will be given, so he files for a court hearing.

The court hearing happens if the two sides can’t meet in the middle on a good contract. If that doesn’t happen, an arbitrator gives the player a contract based on other players’ contracts around the league. Lou Lamoriello got scared about the amount Toews might’ve gotten rewarded with, and here we are now. There’s not enough money to go around, sometimes you gotta be team-friendly.

Noah Dobson

The New York Islanders do not make this trade without knowing that Noah Dobson is ready. Dobson is obviously going to take Devon Toews’ spot alongside Scott Mayfield on the 2nd defensive pairing. This is a huge responsibility for the youngster, but he wouldn’t be in this position if he weren’t ready. Noah Dobson takes Toews’ spot and tries to make Islander fans forget about him. The priority of RFA’s went Mat Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and then Devon Toews. Toews thought he was first in line.

Moving Johnny Boychuk

Johnny Boychuk will probably be traded within the next 48 hours. The Isles had no capital to trade away, Boychuk less than 24 hours ago. Well, now it’s a different story. The Islanders will undoubtedly use one of the 2nd round picks from the Toews’ trade to move Boychuk. If this move happens, the Islanders have $18 Million to sign Barzal, Pulock, Martin, Greene, and another player. It’s sad seeing a good player become a cap casualty, but Hockey is a business.

New York Islanders: Cory Schneider signs and Johnny Boychuk update

Cory Schneider, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders have finally signed their first free agent in 2020. This one is quite a shocker. It isn’t the top 6 forward that all Islander fans have been wanting. It isn’t Barzal or Pulock or Toews being re-signed. No, it’s the Islanders signing a depth goalie. But, this move makes total sense. I mean, why wouldn’t the Islanders sign Cory Schneider? He’s not the best goalie by a mile, but the Islanders have no depth. Christopher Gibson and Linus Soderstrom both left. I like this move a lot for the Islanders.

Where Does He Fit?

Schneider is almost certainly going straight to Bridgeport. But, he’s a good replacement goalie if either Varlamov or Sorokin goes down. Mitch Korn will have a field day turning Schneider’s career around. No surprise that Lamoriello signed Schneider, though.

Lou really just recycles the same eight guys in every franchise he’s been with. Schneider will teach Jakub Skarek the ropes. This is perfect for the young goalie. Every young player needs that veteran presence to calm them down and teach them a few things. The contract details haven’t surfaced yet, but my best guess is that it’s a one year deal for about $1 million.

Boychuk Traded?

This is why you clicked on this article. Lou Lamoriello has somehow found multiple suitors for Johnny Boychuk. Always reliable and up to date source, NRD, states that “Things heating up slightly… still a few yards to go, but the Isles are more confident now then they were on finding a home for Boychuk.”

They also stated that the Islanders won’t get anything major back for him. The Isles need this trade to happen. They instantly open up $5 million in cap space and can start resigning their big guys back. Don’t be surprised if it’s Ottawa trading for him.

New York Islanders: 3 key remaining targets in free agency

New York Islanders, Anthony Duclair

The first day of free agency has come and gone, and the New York Islanders didn’t make any moves. You can blame this on salary cap issues. The Isles can’t lose their big 3 RFA’s, but they also need to improve. Thomas Greiss recently signed with Detroit, and a couple of the other minor UFA’s will leave soon as well. I’ve pointed out 3 targets that the Islanders should try to sign to make up for these losses. One of them may surprise you.

Three targets in FA for the New York Islanders:

Anthony Duclair

I love Anthony Duclair with all of my heart. I don’t know if it’s the way he plays or just how he’s been doubted on every team he’s been on. Duclair is 24 years old and recently erupted on the NHL scene with his performance this past season in Ottawa. Duclair recorded 23 goals and 17 assists in 66 games. This will no doubt solve some of the scoring issues the Isles have at wing. Duclair can either be on the 2nd or 3rd line, probably will be paired with his old teammate, JG Pageau. Duclair is also representing himself, so Lamoriello can probably chip away a few thousand to give to others.

Tyler Toffoli

Tyler Toffoli is often overlooked when people think of good scoring wingers in the NHL. Toffoli is exactly what the Islanders need right now. Toffoli recorded 24 goals and 20 assists in 68 games this past season. The signing will not be cheap at all, but it’s cheaper than a Mike Hoffman. Toffoli is a better team player, leader, and overall better locker room guy than Hoffman as well. Lou might be in on Toffoli; no one would ever know.

Alexander Georgiev

“Why’d he put a goalie on this list? We already have Sorokin and Varlamov”. Well, after those two, who’s the AHL goalie? Christopher Gibson went to Tampa. Linus Soderstrom is in Finland permanently. There needs to be another goalie who is capable of playing if god forbid one of the goalies gets hurt. Georgiev is perfect for this role. It’s a cheap signing, and yet he’s still a good goalie. I don’t think Isles fans would mind seeing him relief in between the pipes.