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Islanders Season Preview: Balzal Point Generation, Secondary Scoring Keys

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The 2022-23 NHL season starts on October 7th. Training camp will start soon. looks at his three keys, an inside scoop on roster questions, and projected line-ups for each of the 32 teams. New York Islanders today.

coach: Lane Lambert (Season 1)

Last season: 37-35-10, 5th in the Metropolitan Division.Did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs

3 keys

1. Balzal’s point production

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said goals under Lambert had been their bread and butter during their four seasons under former coach Barry Trotts and their defensive game. He said it was about having a more aggressive mind without sacrificing. For that, New York needs a center. Matthew Berthal, its best attacking player and produced more than he played for the Trots. This included 59 points (15 goals, 44 assists) in 73 games last season, putting the Islanders in 22nd place with the Buffalo Sabers in total goals (229).

Balzal became a better all-around player under Trots, but the 25-year-old scored 1.04 (85 points; 22 goals, 63 assists), making him the most points per game since winning the Calder Trophy. was not a player. The season before the arrival of the Trots, his 2017-18 NHL Rookie of the Year helped the Islanders establish a defensive mentality. He is in the final season of his three-year contract and could be a restricted free agent.

2. Goaltending Consistency

The strength of the Islanders is the keeper tandem Ilya Sorokin When Semyon VarlamovNew York was in the bottom third of the NHL in scoring last season, but their save percentage was .913, placing them in third place with the Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames, and trailing the Los Angeles Kings with 2.79 goals (versus average). I was lined up for 8th place.

Sorokin has established himself as the clear No. 1 with a 26-18-8 record, a 2.40 GAA, a .925 save percentage and seven shutouts in 52 games. Varlamov was one of his best backups in the NHL, despite going 10-17-2 where he recorded a 2.91 GAA, . .

The Islanders need to improve their offense, but they wouldn’t be a playoff team without repeat performances from Sorokin and Varlamov.

Video: Ilya Sorokin’s top 15 saves for the 2021-22 season

3. More secondary scoring

Last season there were 24 teams with at least two players scoring 60 or more points. brock nelson The team with fewer points than Nelson and Balzal is the Philadelphia Flyers (Travis Connekny52) and the Seattle Kraken (Jared McCann, 50). New York was 25th in the NHL in goals from forwards (197) and tied for 22nd with Philadelphia and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 32 goals from defense.

They didn’t make any big offseason upgrades to their forward group, so they need more from the inside. Oliver Wallstrom (13 goals) and Anthony Beauvillier (12 goals) Threatening back-to-back scoring? Willingness Kyle Palmieri Building on his second half when he scored 14 goals in his last 40 games after scoring one goal in the first 29 games? can you

Roster overview

make a cut

The Islanders have a vacancy in the top six defensive group. if they are healthy Ryan Plock, Adam Perek, Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov When Scott Mayfield rock, but Robin Salo, Sebastian Ajo When Dennis Cholowski are three internal candidates expected to compete for the final spot. Kiefer Bellows, Matt Martin When Ross Johnston A figure competing for the last seat in the forward. The 24-year-old Bellows, who was the 19th overall pick in his 2016 NHL Draft, scored 19 points (6 goals, 13 assists) in his 45 games last season. Martin and Johnston combined for 14 points (5 goals and 9 assists) in his 103 games.

most interesting addition

Romanov, 22, is the only player added in the offseason and is expected to make an immediate impact. (No. 13) won New York’s first-round pick. Romanov had 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) in 79 games last season and led the Canadiens in blocked shots (144), hits (227) and shorthanded ice time (203:26). , is expected to play in the second pair with Dobson, who led the Islanders defense with 51 points (13 goals, 38 assists) in 80 games.

the biggest potential surprise

Aatu Rati Although he needs to do well in training camp to be considered a roster contender, the 19-year-old Finnish forward is one of the Islanders’ front-runners and could join the team. Raty is the point his producer the islanders need. He scored 40 goals (13 goals and 27 assists) in his 41 appearances for Jukrit in Liga, Finland’s top professional league, last season. He also scored 4 points in 6 Calder Cup playoff games for Bridgeport of the American Hockey League and 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 7 games for second-placed Finland at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships.

ready to break through

Wallstrom has scored 25 goals in 117 games over the past two seasons. He has arguably the best shot for the Islanders, but last season he shot 8.3%, and in the 2020-21 season he shot 94 after scoring 12 goals (12.8%). , with 157 shots in 73 games, he scored 13 goals. Wallstrom’s playmaking like Balzal makes him seem like a natural fit to play alongside center. Balzal is a 22-year-old right wing who can carve through the ice with his handling of the skate and puck.

fantasy sleeper

Beauvillier, LW/RW (average underdrafted in fantasy) — He set NHL career-highs in assists (22) and power play points (11) last season, and touched the fantasy-related surface in 2017-18 with 21 goals in 71 games. Once the Islanders’ offense recovers, Beauvilliers and Wallstrom could become a fantasy he’s deep his sleeper if he can earn more time in the top line or first power on his play. –– Pete Jensen

Expected lineup

Anders Lee — Matthew Berthal — Oliver Wallstrom

Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Kyle Palmieri

Kiefer Bellows — Jean-Gabriel PagodaJosh Bailey

Zach ParisCasey SizicusCal Clutterbuck

Adam Perec — Ryan Plock

Alexander Romanov — Noah Dobson

Robin Salo – Scott Mayfield

Ilya Sorokin

Semyon Varlamov