Isles fans maybe aren’t as eager for the season to start now that our franchise player John Tavares has left. The question is, is there anything to cling on to?
The obvious answer to that question is upcoming superstar and calder trophy winner, Mat Barzal. He is now going to be leaned on even more for offense without Tavares in the picture. This brings up many questions though. How will Mat Barzal fair playing against teams top defensive pairs? How will he handle all the pressure being put on him?
In the NHL there is a very real case called the “sophomore slump” which has happened to a lot of players after a very successful breakout rookie year. Although I don’t believe this will happen to our superstar, it is always something to be cautious of.
With that being said, he is going to need to lead the Isles on offense if they want to get anywhere this year. Barzal, Beuvillier, Lee, Eberle, and Nelson have to all equally step up to the plate. In order to get the most out of each and every player, a good coach is always needed. Now the Islanders have thats with Barry Trotz. Trotz knows how to push the right buttons in order to get the most out of his players.
Recently, Isles defenseman Johnny Boychuck made comments on how him and his fellow teammates felt disrespected by people saying the Isles won’t be good this season just solely because of the departure of Tavares. Boychuck highlighted that the players in the locker room still think they are a good enough team to be able to have a successful season.
This chip on the shoulder mentality of the Islanders players shows that they have something to prove and will play that way. Although this is just talk, it is going to be interesting how the Isles will compete with this extra motivation wanting to prove all the nay sayers wrong.
As everyone knows, Lou has been adding a lot of death to the Isles roster. This meaning we have the most amount of fourth line players in the NHL. People may see this as a and thing, but look at where the Vegas Golden Knights got last year with four lines they could roll at any time.
They got contributions from all four lines in the biggest moments or just when the first liners had an off night offensively.
With that being said, the best fourth line in all of the NHL is back with the E=MC^2 line. This line not only brought energy every time they touched the ice, they also scored in key moments of games.
Bringing Matt Martin back will provide more energy throughout the team and the stadium as well.
Actual Home Ice Advantage
This season the Isles will play 20 home games at NYCB Live, or better know as the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. This is huge because the Barclays was a pain to get to not just for the fans, but the players too.
The Barclays was so quite at times a pin drop could be heard at ice level from all the way up in the 200’s. Maybe thats a little bit of an exaggeration but it sure felt like that the many times I’ve been there.
With the games at NYCB Live, the fans will be more engaged, more livened by the pre game tailgates in the parking lot, and just the feel of being back in the barn.
If last years pre season game at NYCB against the Flyers was any indiction of what the atmosphere will be in there during this upcoming season, it’ll definitely be something to witness.