With a third of the season gone, I decided to check in on some of the IslesBlog crew to see what they think the high point and low point of the season have been, as well as what they are pessimistic and optimistic about going forward.
James Nichols (JN) – Lee, Barzal, and Eberle are all performing at a high level. Emphasis on Eberle because he usually starts slow. Barzal is evolving into the elite forward we all knew he would become, and it’s encouraging to see some say he could even be in the same level as the McDavids and MacKinnons of the NHL.
Brooks Simpson (BS) – Noah Dobson’s development compensating for Toews departure.
Ryan Dunnigan (RD) – Beating Boston for the second time this season.
Eric Vogel (EV) – I stood up out of my chair when I saw this goal.
What a pass and what a finish 🤩 pic.twitter.com/kF9f6ylZbt
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 17, 2021
RD – Blowing the 2-1 lead against Pittsburgh and not even salvaging a point.
BS – Middle-six forward struggles for guys not named Pageau.
JN – Bailey looks like he’s skating in quicksand, and Mayfield can’t get the puck out of his own zone. Some of those individual inconsistencies are keeping the Islanders back from their true ability to dominate games.
EV – That early five-game losing streak did not have me in a good place, but seeing them recover from that has felt good.
Ben Mandell (BM) – Lou (Lamoriello) showing he’s not ready to adapt to the new style of game by filling the roster with expensive vets.
JN – I wasn’t particularly thrilled with how Bellows was handled regarding his last game. Yes he made some costly mistakes, but it was his first game back in the lineup in weeks, and he was thrown back in the top-six as if he had been playing there for years. Accountability is important, but where was that when Komarov needed it earlier this year?
RD – Lack of goal scoring. Biggest thing to be pessimistic about going into the season and it wasn’t addressed and it’s showing. I question how far this team can go if they can’t light the lamp consistently.
BS – Team scoring.
JN – I’m thoroughly impressed with Dobson and Wahlstrom thus far. The Isles don’t have a history of developing forward prospects well, yet Wahlstrom seems on the bring of breaking out at any moment. With Dobson, we knew he’d be good, but I don’t think we knew he’d be this good. I think he’ll be an elite defenseman in this league, and soon.
BM – Varlamov showing he’s one of the best goalies in the East and Barzal’s continued development.
BS – Sorokin’s development into a high-caliber NHL goalie.
RD – The huge potential of Wahlstrom and Dobson.