The New York Islanders had their run ended just short of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Islanders are in a great spot for the future. The UBS arena is ready in 2021. Ilya Sorokin is an Islander. The Isles made a deep run and proved the whole league wrong. Lou Lamoriello still needs to make a big move to improve the team and make them cup contenders for awhile. There are three things the Isles need to do to accomplish said goal.
Sign a Legit Top 6 Winger
The Islanders cannot get to the Stanley Cup Finals without having someone who can score consistently. The Islanders currently have no one like that, but they can sign one hopefully. With players like Mat Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews, all needing contracts, the Isles are strapped for cap. The Islanders will have to make a trade to get rid of a high salary cap player. No matter what it takes, the Islanders need a top 6 winger. It’s a lot easier to win with a guy who scores 30 goals consistently than a guy who can maybe score 22.
Improve Power-Play Strategy
Tampa Bay shut down every single Islanders’ power-play while being effective on their own. The Islanders were unwilling to dump in the puck, and Tampa took advantage of that. The best forechecking team in Hockey became unwilling to forecheck on the power-play. Not only that, but the Isles need to get rid of the drop pass. Every time they get bumped out of the zone, they take it back 70 feet and drop pass it to Barzal. It’s predictable, and it takes away the stretch pass that takes the defense off guard.
Develop Young Players
The Islanders are a young team with a lot of good young players. Mat Barzal needs to develop further and give more effort to backchecking and on defense. Noah Dobson needs to gain confidence in his play; he’s a good player, just needs confidence. Have to let these young players know that turnovers won’t fly around here. Ilya Sorokin must be developed correctly if the Isles want to make more deep runs. Although he’s a great player already, Anthony Beauvillier still has room to grow. Devon Toews is a solid defender, but. he makes too many mistakes. There’s a bunch of young guys who need to learn how to play Islanders’ Hockey.