13 Thoughts On The Islanders And The Emergence Of Their Offense

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NOTE: This week’s 13 Thoughts is really only 11 Thoughts due to time restrictions and well, that’s all I had to say about this team without throwing in some filler BS. Enjoy, and to the haters and losers, next week’s 13 thoughts will be precise, well thought out, and as informative as ever.

Big news of the day is obviously the fact that Matt Duchene is no longer a member of the Avalanche. The fact it took three teams to get the deal done goes to show just how hard it was for Sakic to come across a return that he felt was just, but I’ll leave the full break down to Jordie.


Verrrry conveniant of Young Stapegod to remember this lit bit of information today of all days. Sakic’s asking price was known to be absurdly high and in the end his patience landed him pretty much everything he was asking for. Multiple high-level prospects and a handful of 1st and 2nd rounders.


Being Garth traded Hamonic for a 1st and two 2nds, while Sorokin is still tearing it up in the K and Barzal proves to be exactly as advertised [a 2nd line Center], in hindsight, the best move the Isles could have done was not budge. So credit to Garth for pissing off 99.9% of the fanbase by handling the situation extremely well… by literally doing nothing. In doing so [again, nothing] the Isles filled the role that had Duchene’s name all over it with the rookie Barzal, held on to their 2nd best goalie prospects, and gained a three quality draft picks this summer.

2. Pretty much the only reason I’m not hung up on Duchene not ending up an Islander is Mat Barzal. Following his 5(FIVE) assist performance in Brooklyn yesterday, it’s safe to say Matty B is exactly the player we thought he would be [a 2nd line Center] and is finding his groove way sooner than imagined.

Two weeks ago I wrote about how he was correcting the little mistakes he was making on a daily basis, last week it was how he was finding his form, this week it’s about how if he continues to play the way he has he could put himself right into the middle of Calder conversations.

His 13 points in 14 games while continuing to show signs of improvement has me extremely excited to see just how good this kid will be in a year or so. Right now, you could offer me Duchene for Barzy straight up and I would probably say no. Not to slight Ottawa’s newest son but the potential and control of Barzal’s contract situation over the next several years far outweighs 1.75 seasons of Matt Duchene.

3. Another positive to Barzal being a playmaking machine is that he has kickstarted Eberle’s year, as Dougie is now running an insanely refreshing 2nd line of Ladd-Barzal-Ebs. The Barzal/Eberle chemistry is already apparent and it seems if both of JTs castaway elite wingers can’t produce, just throw 20 year old puck-moving phenom Mat Barzal in the middle and let them spin. You’ll end up getting plays like this.

4. Speaking of Dougie’s new lines. Reuniting the 1st line of Lee-Tavares-Bailey has proved just as fruitful this year as it did last, with both Bails and JT currently in the league’s top-10 scorers. I by no means blame Dougie for trying Ebs out on JTs wing to start the year, that spot was his the second the trade went through, but what works works and what works best right now is Bails as 1st line right wing.

With the 2nd line of Ladd-Barzal-Ebs finding immediate chemistry and the BLT line getting it going the second they were put back together, this team’s top-6 is proving to be a deadly core.


5. Last year Bailey threw a ton of gasoline onto the “Just how good is he” fire with a career high of 56 points. People said it was a fluke or that it was all because of JT, but now riding a 9 game scoring streak and sitting 8th in the league in points, Bailey is proving he’s found his proper role, and it just so happens to be alongside John Tavares.

Kind of crazy that out of all the talent placed next to JT over the years, Josh fucking Bailey is the guy he meshes with most efficiently. I’m talking Jordan Eberle, Brad Boyes, Cory Conacher, elite level talent mind you, and it’s J-Bails who turns out to be JTs guy. Wild.

6. Speaking of great talent, how about that John Tavares guy himself? 15 points in his last 7 games has him currently 4th in the league in scoring [18 points to Stamkos’ league-leading 25]. It’s insane that putting Josh Bailey on his side is exactly what he needed to kick things into gear yet here we are. The points have been coming and the smiles a’plenty. Put me at 80% confidence that he re-signs.

7. In past weeks I’ve touched on how the scoring wasn’t there yet the goalies were showing up night in and night out and yeah well it’s now the opposite. This offense is scoring goals like it’s their day job [get it?] and the Greiss/Halak tandem are allowing em just as easily. Halak had several strong starts last week but after allowing 4 goals to Washington Dougie decided to head back to Greiss against Colorado, who subsequently allowed 4 goals against himself.

I said it back in September that this team is going to score a lot of goals when things are clicking. Here we are in November, things are clicking, the goals are being scored, now we just need the goalies to follow suit and, y’know, not allow 6 goal games to remain close in the final minutes.

8. Now It’d be rude of me to touch on Barzal’s year without giving credit to the rest of the kids within the lineup. Beauvillier is having a good not great year but that’s going to come when you’re getting minutes alongside players like Kulemin, Chimera, Cluts and the rest who float in and out of the bottom-6. Nothing to praise yet nothing to complain about with Beau.

9. On the defensive side, the likes of Mayfield, Pelech, and Pulock have all been finding their confidence as the year’s gone on. Mayfield is getting more proactive with the puck, Pelech is getting quicker with his decision making and Pulock is finding the confidence he needs to play his game night in and night out. Like Beau, not much to complain about, not much to praise, outside of their ability to grow into their roles as the season chugs on.

10. The last and certainly not forgotten kid in the mix is none other than Josh Ho-Sang, who still finds himself in Bridgeport as I type. 5 points in 5 games is nothing to hype up but as of right now I don’t think it matters. Dougie is finding success with the lineup he’s been rolling out and I don’t think he is in any rush to force JHS back into the mix.


It’s sucks for people like me who enjoy nothing more than JHS and the way he plays but it’s about the journey not the destination or something dumb like that. JHS will be back in the show before long and if the team is continuing to pick up points without him then why you heff to be mad?

Final Thought: This team’s offense is finally clicking, with 16 goals in their last 3 games, their 53 goals on the year is 3rd most in the league. While youngsters like Barzal and Pulock are gaining confidence by the minute, vets like JT and Bails find themselves among the league’s top scorers. If Halak and Greiss can figure out their problems we’ll see the full potential of this current roster but even so, as is, this looks like a playoff hockey team just a month into the season.