The New York Islanders have played some decent hockey this season which has been good enough to keep them in the thick of the playoff picture. However, their play hasn’t been good enough to keep pace with the red-hot Capitals and it hasn’t been good enough to create some breathing room in the crowded Eastern Conference.
Head coach Jack Capuano has recognized the good play on the roster, but he admitted he may want to make some changes.
“I think the top guys that are here are playing pretty good hockey to be honest with you, the experienced guys. It is some of the other guys that need to find their game. That is a decision that Garth [Snow] will have to make as far as personnel. But we are going to have to sit down and talk about it going into Columbus as far as what we are going to do. Obviously it is not working with some of the guys we have now.”
Capuano didn’t directly say he wants the team to make trades, but it’s pretty clear that’s what he’s talking about with his statement above. What’s not clear is who Capuano might be talking about and what he has in mind. Looking at things statistically and seeing where the Isles are at compared to last season, there doesn’t seem to be any obvious answers to that question.
The Islanders are on pace to score fewer goals in 2015-16 compared to 2014-15 (albeit narrowly), but they are on pace to allow fewer goals against (again, narrowly). The other more advanced stats are pretty comparable as well, signaling the Isles are at least performing as well as they did last season. The Isles weren’t good enough to claim the Cup last season, but they were a strong club. It’s interesting to hear Capuano make such blunt comments which might be more appropriate for a team with a worse record or worse statistics.
Teams should always be looking to improve, but Capuano’s comments could easily be taken the wrong way both by fans and the players in the dressing room.