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Trotz leads Islanders into first place as All-Star break approaches

February is approaching and the New York Islanders currently sit in first place in the Metro Division with 62 points. With the disappearance of captain, John Tavares, and uncertainty of others, expectations were low for this Islanders team entering the 2018-2019 season. Fortunately, Barry Trotz, and the rest of the coaching staff thought differently.

Yes, the expectations consisted of the Islanders hanging around the bottom of the standings all year; but one thing that may have gotten lost in the subtraction of Tavares, was the surplus of young talent that still remained. The fans were aware of guys like Matt Barzal, and Anthony Beauvillier, as they had tremendous seasons the year before. But it’s guys like 24-year-old Ryan Pulock, 22-year-old Michael Dal Colle, 24-year-old Adam Pelech, 24-year-old Devon Toews, 26-year-old Scott Mayfield, and even 27-year-old Brock Nelson, who although extremely young and highly talented, seemed to be headed down a road of uncertainty.

Barry and the rest of the coaching staff have taken these top draft picks, and are turning them into the players that they were destine to become. These guys have bought into Barry’s system and it is showing. A common theme seen in years past, is the addition of young talent, but the lack of development. These two factors are now finally coming together and it is a thing of beauty.

In addition to these young players finally learning how to play in the National Hockey League, goaltender, Robin Lehner, has been fantastic. The NHL named Lehner the first star of the week last week, posting a 3-0-0 record with a .970 save percentage, 0.67 goals against average, and one shutout. Lehner has made it clear that the players and coaches within the Islanders organization have made him feel comfortable and welcomed.

Barry Trotz has done an unbelievable job of bringing the best out of every single player and making sure that everyone is doing their job efficiently. Each individual is aware of their role and what is needed out of them in order to win the hockey game. As Trotz said it himself, “I think we’re just scratching the surface of what we can be.” So don’t be surprised if the New York Islanders continue to dominate, as they look to finish strong in their final game before the All-Star break this Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.

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