New York Islanders: Lineup Changes for Game 2

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders got whipped last night against the Lightning. You can blame this on lack of rest, or just being out talented. There’s no room for mistakes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Changes must be made to the lineup. The Islanders need to make several changes and take game 2. Also, I will not be tackling the decision at the goalie spot just because it could be either-or.

Ross Johnston Out

I am not the biggest Ross Johnston fan, and it’s well documented. I mean, JG Pageau does the same thing, and he’s like 5 inches smaller and 60 pounds lighter. Ross Johnston doesn’t have the speed to help out the defense if they get caught on a 3v2. Johnston doesn’t play on the power-play kill. Johnston isn’t making momentum-swinging hits or fights happen. Either Tom Kuhnhackl or Michael Dal Colle should take Johnston’s spot. Kuhnhackl provides a ton of offense and forechecks with the best of them. While Dal Colle is solid in the neutral zone and is relatively fresh. The Islanders haven’t allowed a goal in the Playoffs when Dal Colle plays. One of those two must take Johnston’s spot.

Leo Komarov In

Leo Komarov is a player most teams don’t think they need, but in reality, they need him. Komarov is a grinder and plays on the power-play kill, which the Islanders need help on. The Islanders can’t allow Victor Hedman to score three power-play goals a game. Komarov will lay it all out on the line if it means he can raise that Stanley Cup. Komarov also creates offense and gets his linemates in a good position to score.

Andy Greene gets Fewer Minutes

Andy Greene has been a very inconsistent player for the Isles during the playoffs. One game, he scores from the point, and poke checks everything. Other games, he takes multiple penalties and provides too many opportunities for the other team. I don’t believe that Johnny Boychuk or Noah Dobson should take his spot, but Greene needs to earn his 17 minutes a night. The Isles are deep in the playoffs, there’s no room for error.

New York Islanders: Barry Trotz must Change the Lineup for Game 7

New York islanders, Jordan Eberle

The New York Islanders have blown their 3-1 lead against the Philadelphia Flyers. Game 7 is on Saturday, and the Islanders need to make some lineup changes. With little to no momentum on their side, the Islanders need to come out swinging. Not literally swinging, but pressuring the Flyers as they did in game 1. I’ve penciled in 3 lineup changes that I believe are detrimental for the Islanders to close out the series.

Thomas Greiss

Before overtime, the Flyers had 20 shots on net, and the Islanders had 50. What was the score, you wonder? 4-4. One out of every five shots that the Flyers took went in. This is not how you win a series. Thomas Greiss is the only solution to this problem. Greiss made some huge saves during game four as the Islanders took a 3-1 lead in the series. Griess isn’t always the most reliable, but Varlamov isn’t either right now. It’s a risky move for sure, but I believe this change must occur.

Tom Kuhnhackl

Tom Kuhnhackl was excellent against the Florida Panthers and was only taken out because of the Isles’ inability to stop the power-play. Now, the Flyers’ power-play is even worse than the Islanders’. Komarov isn’t better than Kuhnhackl on offense, and the offense is what the Islanders need right now. Kuhnhackl’s forechecking works perfectly with Pageau’s ability to jump up on the defense. You can either play Kuhnhackl and get more offense or stick with Komarov and see what works.

Jordan Eberle

Jordan Eberle had at least four chances to end the series last night. Playoff Eberle has fallen off the map completely. He’s taking enough shots, but none of them are going in. I believe he has to move down a line. I don’t know who you would move up because the “B-B-B” line is doing so well. Maybe moving Josh Bailey up a line is the right move, but that’s Trotz’s decision.

Conclusion

The Islanders only have one more shot at winning this series. This is the biggest game in Islanders’ history in 27 years. The pressure is on.

New York Islanders: Who Should be the 3rd Line Left-Winger?

ross johnston, New York Islanders

The current 3rd line left winger for the New York Islanders is Michael Dal Colle. The Islanders drafted OHL star Michael Dal Colle with the 5th overall pick in the 2014 NHL entry draft. There was no reason to not draft Dal Colle that high. His stats were amazing; Dal Colle recorded 90+ points two years in a row. Somewhere along the road, Dal Colle lost his way. It took him five years to actually make the team and six years to have a real spot. Dal Colle doesn’t provide offense, which is the thing the Isles drafted him for, he just forechecks. Most of the time, it feels like Dal Colle is just skating around out there and not doing anything. There are many other options for the 3rd line left-wingers spot whose names aren’t Michael Dal Colle.

Tom Kuhnhackl

Tom Kuhnhackl was fantastic for the Islanders during their play-in matchup against the Florida Panthers. His forechecking was magnificent, and due to this, Kuhnhackl created countless high scoring chances. JG Pageau’s goal in the first game wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Kuhnhackl pressuring the defenseman. Kuhnhackl’s passing was on full display during this series too. No Islander fan could forget Kuhnhackl’s through the legs pass to a Matt Martin tap in goal. Kuhnhackl deserves the spot more than anyone else on the team right now. His current play, mixed with his 2 Stanley Cup wins, gives him a leg up on the competition.

Ross Johnston

Who doesn’t love the enforcer, Ross Johnston? Probably not Tom Wilson, but that’s a different story. Johnston does his job, and he does it with maximum effort. He knows he’s there to backcheck, hip-check, forecheck, and then he gets to pick up the paycheck. Johnston is also not a bad skater for a big man. While he doesn’t have amazing speed, Johnston can hop up on the 3v2 rush. If Barry Trotz wants the hits to start coming against the Flyers, Johnston is your man for sure.

Derick Brassard

I don’t believe Brassard did anything wrong vs the Capitals. He isn’t the same player he once was, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a solid winger. He can also win the faceoff when Pageau gets kicked from the center position. Brassard just doesn’t give as much offense as Kuhnhackl or Johnston, but he gives a lot more than Dal Colle.

Conclusion

There are a plethora of wingers that should take Dal Colle’s spot, and for good reason. The Isles are real contenders for the first time in decades, and cannot put people like Dal Colle out there. There’s only so much room for error, and the Isles cannot make mistakes.

New York Islanders: Should The Islanders Re-sign Tom Kuhnhackl?

New York Islanders, Tom Kuhnhackl

The New York Islanders signed Tom Kuhnhackl to a one year deal on June 2nd, 2018. Kuhnhackl is the exact player that the Islanders expected him to be. He was never supposed to be a 20+ goal scorer or record 60 points. Kuhnhackl is a solid 3rd line forward. His contract does end this year, though, and the Islanders will have to make some decisions to let guys like Kuhnhackl leave if they want to retain their stars. Should the Islanders resign Tom Kuhnhackl, or will they let him leave and use the cap space to resign key players?

Why Kuhnhackl Should be Resigned

Tom Kuhnhackl is a stud when it comes to playoff performances. Islanders fans call Jordan Eberle “Playoff Ebs” because he’s great in the playoffs. There is an argument to have a “Playoff Kuhnhackl.” In the two games he played against the Florida Panthers, Kuhnhackl was nothing short of sensational. The 3rd line was one of the best, if not the best line of the series.

It all started due to the forechecking of that line. Kuhnhackl was always in the right spot, putting pressure on the Panthers. Kuhnhackl also had that beautiful through the legs assist to Matt Martin. Barry Trotz knows that players like Tom Kuhnhackl, Cole Bardreau, and Derrick Brassard (in small doses) are crucial to a contending team.

Why Kuhnhackl Shouldn’t be Resigned

Kieffer Bellows will be ready to play any day now, and the Islanders have no spot for him on the roster. The same thing goes for Oliver Wahlstrom, Otto Koviula, and eventually Simon Holmstrom. If the Islanders want to play their younger guys, they will have to get rid of players like Kuhnhackl. But, Kuhnhackl is not a regular in the lineup. Fans might say, “keep Kuhnhackl as a healthy scratch, and when someone gets hurt, insert him into the lineup.” That’s a fantastic idea; there’s no reason to get rid of a good player if you can keep him. Kuhnhackl also doesn’t have a big cap hit, so the Islanders would be able to resign him for cheap and resign their more prominent players.

Conclusion

This decision will not make or break the Islanders. But, I think it would be a dumb idea to get rid of a good player. Kuhnhackl’s contract (if resigned) would probably see about two years for $950k. It’s a solid contract for a solid player; Kuhnhackl deserves it. I don’t see Trotz letting Kuhnhackl walk whatsoever.

New York Islanders: 3 Key Players to Yesterday’s Win

Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers yesterday with a score of 4-2 and take a 2-0 lead in the best of 5 series. This is a monumental win for the Islanders teams are 55-1 when leading 2-0 in a best of 5 series. Three key players helped the Islanders put extreme pressure on the Panthers.

Jordan Eberle

If you score two goals in one game, there’s a 95% chance you’re a top 3 star in the game. Jordan Eberle, who was invisible in game 1, showed up in the ladder half of game 2. Eberle’s first goal was an absolute beauty. First, he waited on his forehand and moved the defenseman. This move also moved Sergei Bobvrosky right out of his net, and Eberle being the goal scorer he is, rips it short side to put the Isles up 3-2. Eberle’s second goal was nothing special, just in the right place at the right time. The Islanders need playoff Eberle to shine if they want to make a deep run.

Ryan Pulock

Ryan Pulock possesses the hardest slapshot in the NHL. Let me reiterate, Ryan Pulock possesses the hardest slapshot in the NHL. I’ve seen Pulock injury goalies after he shoots from 50 feet away. Pulock has a powerful slapshot, but he doesn’t have the accuracy to score often. Despite this, Islanders fans beg Pulock to take the slapshot on the powerplay. This time, Pulock listened to the fans, and the shot went five-hole. Other than the goal, Pulock played solid defense the entire game. Never giving up position, and always filling his lanes.

The 4th Line

Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin make up the best 4th line in the league. This line never tries to get too fancy. They chip and chase, hit whenever they can, and keep a good forecheck/neutral zone presence. When the 4th line is playing well, the Islanders normally win. The Islanders have a way of making a two-goal lead seem like a seven-goal lead, and it starts with this line. Amazing forechecking all game, and Matty Martin scored today as well.

Honorable Mention

Tom Kuhnhackl played another great game today. Amazing forechecking, good defensive presence, hard checking, and great awareness. He even had the pass of the game, through the legs into a Matty Martin goal.

Conclusion

The Islanders play game three tomorrow at noon. This could either be the sweep the fans are clamoring for, or, the first win for the Panthers. Head coach Barry Trotz will give his players two options. You can either end the series now or let the Panthers climb back into it.

New York Islanders: 3 Key Performances from Saturday’s Win

Adam Pelech, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Saturday in game 1 of the series. The Islanders looked very sharp and were enforcing their style of Hockey onto the opposing Panthers. There were three performances that stuck out to me in this hard-fought victory.

The New York Islanders’ Third Line

The third line was probably the best line on the ice yesterday. This line, anchored by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, created countless chances through their forechecking. Tom Kuhnhackl was putting in 110% effort into his forechecking, and this effort would set up the first goal of the game by Pageau, and assisted by Derick Brassard. This line played smart the entire game and didn’t try to get too fancy, got the pucks deep, and chased. The key to this series for the Islanders is to have their depth outplay the other team.

Anthony Beauvillier

The number of times I said, “Wow, Anthony Beauvillier is so good” yesterday is uncountable. Beauvillier seems like he’s the best player on the ice at all times. He’s insanely fast, strong on the puck, has a good wrist shot, and can read 2v1 situations like no other. Beauvillier’s powerplay goal was a great goal, as well. I’m just very impressed by the kid, he went from possibly not making the team to being one of the best on the team.

Adam Pelech

The New York Islanders don’t have a shot of winning without Adam Pelech. This is not an over-exaggeration or a knock against the other defenseman. Adam Pelech is the most impactful player the Islanders have. Pelech is not just impactful on the ice but off the ice as well. The culture change is with Pelech. I mean, there’s a whole fan group with more than 2,500 members about Pelech called the #PelechPosse created by BathtubJake. Besides that, Pelech played out of his mind yesterday, he literally bodyslammed a Panther. His play surprised no Islander fan but surprised every NHL fan.

Honorable Mention

Seymon Varlamov is my honorable mention for this list. Varlamov made 27 saves on 28 shots. Anytime a goalie only lets in one goal, you have to give credit to him. He didn’t make my list, though, due to the performances by the other three players. Also, the one goal he let in was not a goal that should’ve went in.

Conclusion

If the Islanders play like this every game, it’s an easy sweep. If the Islanders take game 2, you could be looking at another sweep. But, you can’t get ahead of yourself like that, take it one game at a time—game 1 to the Island.