August 8, 2022

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The Islanders pictured the 2021-22 season starting with the opening of their $1.1 billion arena...

The Islanders pictured the 2021-22 season starting with the opening of their $1.1 billion arena and ending with a parade down Hempstead Turnpike. After two straight years of being within arm’s length of a Stanley Cup Final, this felt like it could be the culmination.
Instead, they limped into the All-Star break with a 16-17-6 record following a demoralizing 3-0 loss at home to the Kraken, after which head coach Barry Trotz ripped his team’s effort.
Without an incredible second-half run, the Islanders likely will be watching season from their couches, lamenting a lost season.
“We just gotta reset here,” Brock Nelson said following the loss to Seattle.
First on the list: Finding a consistent way to score. The Islanders are not a team set up to win games with offense, but that doesn’t excuse an output that ranks 30th in the league.
The first line of Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey is the only forward group that has scored more than 10 goals, and even there, the loss of Jordan Eberle has hit hard. Bailey has produced and created chances, with 17 assists, but three goals in 34 games won’t do from a top-six winger who gets power-play minutes.

Kyle Palmieri, who scored one goal with six assists in 29 games, has been a major disappointment — and a major issue. The Islanders gave Palmieri a four-year deal at $5 million (annual average value) last offseason.

“He’s a top six forward for us,” Trotz said last week.
But he hasn’t produced like it.
On the back end, the loss of Nick Leddy during the offseason has hit harder than expected. Traded for salary-cap reasons, Leddy was a strong offensive presence who could get the puck up the ice, qualities the Islanders have sorely missed from their defensemen. Noah Dobson’s steps forward in that department count as what might be the biggest positive during the first half of the Islanders’ season, and Ryan Pulock’s return from injury will help, too. But it’s unclear whether that will combine to be enough to overcome their problems.
Also complicating things is that, upon returning to play, the Islanders will have just two home games for the rest of February. Following a 13-game road trip to start the season, the Islanders failed to take full advantage of a two-month stretch in which they barely left Long Island, going 9-10-3 at UBS Arena against a relatively soft schedule.
With two western trips on tap, things are about to get much tougher. Nine of their next 11 games will be on the road, and five of those games will be against playoff teams.
The Islanders’ playoff odds are low enough — between four and 11 percent, depending which public model you look at — that they can’t afford to continue hovering around .500. Such a result, or worse, would all but officially end their already-slim playoff hopes, and potentially prompt general manager Lou Lamoriello to be a seller at the trade deadline.
If their effort over the last couple of weeks — when they lost four of six, including what Nelson called a “must-win” against Seattle — is any indication, then it’s a hefty ask to avoid such a scenario.
“We’re going to need more,” an angry Trotz said Wednesday night. “We’re going on the road, playing good teams. We’ve gotta put in a better effort.”

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Islanders seeking post-NHL All-Star break reboot appeared first on maserietv.com.