The New York Islanders had a problem last season with their defensive play and if you need any indication of that, look at the Isles’ goals against average compared to the league average.
The Isles gave up a total of 293 goals while the league average was 244. The Islanders goals against average was one of the more obvious reasons why the team didn’t qualify for the playoffs.
With the firings of Doug Weight and Garth Snow on June 5th, the Islanders added legendary GM Lou Lamierello and Stanley Cup-winning coach Barry Trotz.
While the offseason was relatively quiet on the defensive side, the Isles resigned Thomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews to contracts. There were no new additions to the defensive core and the Islanders lost Calvin deHann to the Hurricanes.
Even though the team lost de Haan and didn’t gain any new upgrades on defense, the Isles did make plenty of goaltending coaching changes.
So what does this mean for the team’s goals against total?
Barry Trotz became the coach of the Capitals in the 2014-15 season. Prior to Trotz’s arrival during the 2011-12 season (ignoring the lockout in 2012) the Caps gave up 226 goals, 2 over the league average of 224. The Caps also gave up 229 goals, 4 over the league average of 225, during the 2013-14 season.
However, when Trotz arrived, that total decreased.
In the 2014-15 season, the Capitals gave up 199 goals, while the league average was 224. In the 2015-16 season, the Capitals gave up 191 goals, while the average was 222 goals against.
This trend is also observed in the 2016-17 season when the Capitals gave up 177 goals, while the league average was 227.
During the Capitals most recent season, they gave up more goals than their recent averages at 238; however, that is still below the league average of 244.
Hopefully, the Barry Trotz affect transfers to the Islanders. With Mitch Korn and Piero Greco working with goalies, Thomas Griess and newly added Robin Lehner, the Isles will hopefully decrease their goals against total in the 2018-19 season.
The Islanders need to improve their defensive play if they want to be successful. With a new regime in play, the Isles defense will be a big factor in the team’s play next season.