Entering Wednesday night’s game in Anaheim, the Islanders are 29th in the league in goal differential. They are -15 in that department, having scored 35 goals in 14 games while allowing 50. Since Islanders management has consistently declared that the team’s defense has been significantly upgraded – even with the long-term injury to Mark Streit – let’s take a pre-game look at the offense.
Through 14 games, they are last in the league with 14 goals scored when the play is 5-on-5. They have also given up the most during 5-on-5, with 35.
Everyone knew the Islanders needed to add offense this season to reach their publicly-stated goal of making the playoffs – no excuses, no more using the crutch of “rebuilding.” Yet Islanders management did nothing about it except reach for an NHL breakout season from PA Parenteau by giving him a one-way contract.
Through a combined 87 games, this year’s roster additions have a combined 11 points at even-strength and have a combined plus/minus ratio of -44
Here are the new Islanders acquired by Garth Snow for 2010-11, along with their even-strength and shorthanded points and plus/minus ratio:
Michael Grabner: 4 points, -2
Milan Jurcina: 3 points, -1
Mike Mottau: 2 points, -11
PA Parenteau: 1 point, -9
James Wisniewski: 1 point, -12
Mark Eaton: 0 points, -4
Zenon Konopka: 0 points, -5
Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect too much from the above seven in the offensive end on 5-on-5 situations. But that’s the point.
The Islanders, only a hair over the salary cap floor and with buyout Alexei Yashin as their highest-paid player, did not even try to get better on offense. Counting on youngsters like John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and Nino Niederreiter to step up with little veteran assistance was unfair and unrealistic. It may also hinder their development
As a result, the Islanders are currently 4-8-2. They have been unproductive when the game is played 5-on-5. But here we are, and it’s the head coach who is feeling the heat while everyone else is hardly touched. Such is life in the NHL coaching fraternity. Such is the life of an Islanders head coach since 1995.
Any word on that “Hard Knocks,” all-access, warts-and-all documentary we were told the Islanders were filming?
Wasn’t freeing up Anton Klementyev to be the seventh defenseman for Russia at the World Junior Championship supposed to be the golden ticket to freeing up Kirill Petrov? (That one was a classic).
Besides the gift of John Tavares, have the Islanders maximized their run of top-five draft picks?
Any word yet on that new job for Trotts?
More later. I’ll open up a new Comments thread at 9:30 and will be there throughout the game in Anaheim.