Well, look at what we have here? All that worrying over Lou Lamoriello’s inactive summer, for what? Sure, it’s still extremely early on in the 2019-2020 campaign, but these New York Islanders are absolutely something special.
You can feel it. We all can. There’s an energy to it all. Even when an occasional flat spell falls over these Isles, Barry Trotz rallies his troops, the pace picks up, and things turn around.
Over the course of an 82-game season, there will be ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys, what have you. This 13-game point streak the Islanders are currently riding is most certainly a peak. What the valley has in store for this group is yet to be determined, but the confidence, foundation, and identity being built now are akin to seeds being sewn.
Maybe Lou had a plan when he decided against any major shakeups this past offseason. Maybe, in all his wisdom, he held the value of cohesion in higher regard than piecing together a traveling All-Star team. Making the flashy additions is one thing. Making smart ones is entirely another.
When presented with the opportunity to make a splash, perhaps moving on from one of a handful of in-house free agents this summer, the Islanders chose to stick to their guns, keeping Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Anthony Beauvillier in the fold and betting on this core to continue to grow. Apparently, Lou’s a “put it all on black, er, orange” kinda guy.
Losing Robin Lehner this offseason — after the historic season he put together in 2018-2019 — could have easily slowed the momentum this organization built after a surprisingly quick turnaround following the departure of John Tavares for the comfort of his own bedsheets in Toronto.
Instead, the Isles made their corresponding move, securing Semyon Varlamov to pair with Thomas Greiss and, once again, Piero Greco and Mitch Korn have New York’s goaltenders playing at maximum potential. Greiss (.938) and Varlamov (.917) rank first and 14th in the NHL, respectively, in save percentage and the Isles’ 42 goals allowed as a team leads the league by a healthy margin (Boston and Arizona tied for second with 49 GA).
Mathew Barzal leads the team in points (17), goals (nine), and is second to Nelson in assists (eight to 10). Safe to say he’s moving along swimmingly, no? Derick Brassard has been outstanding thus far. Let’s hope that continues.
Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Devon Toews, and Scott Mayfield are making strides as a group and individually, and Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy are still hanging in there as the veteran leaders the defensive corps needs. It’s all happening!!
All in all, things are good at the moment, friends. Let’s enjoy it.