As the New York Islanders completed their 22nd game of the season and are more than a quarter of the way through the regular season, we look back at who has stepped up for New York so far.
After a 1-3 start, the Islanders set a franchise record with a point in 17 straight games, which included a 10-game winning streak. The point streak ended Monday night, as the Islanders lost 3-0 to the Anaheim Ducks.
They currently sit tied for the third-best record in the NHL, but remain three points back of the division-leading Washington Capitals. The Islanders have three games in-hand on Washington, though, and are a major storyline of the NHL season.
Team MVP: Brock Nelson
This is certainly one of the toughest awards to give out as the Islanders have been incredible this season. There is one guy of late, though, who has carried the team, and that is Brock Nelson. Despite only eight goals, the forward has had three of them come in overtime, and two this past week against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Nelson has always shown the ability to score in the month of October, but has carried it into November this season. The Islanders will need him to continue his strong start after back-to-back losses out west.
Most Improved Player: Ryan Pulock
This award is tough as well because there are a handful of players that are deserving. However, one guy that has blossomed into a top defenseman in the league has been Ryan Pulock.
Islanders fans know how deadly his slap shot can be on the power play, but he has shown his ability on both ends of the ice. He routinely leads the Islanders in ice time each game and has excelled on the penalty kill. For a guy not known for his defensive style of play, head coach Barry Trotz has shown trust in him late in games to help pull out wins.
Best Rookie: Noah Dobson
Coming into the season, it did not seem like there would be many rookies in the lineup on a regular basis. After a rush of injuries, the Islanders saw Cole Bardreau, Oliver Wahlstrom and Otto Koivula all make their NHL debuts. While they have all impressed, at times, nobody has played as well as the Islanders’ 2018 first-round pick, Noah Dobson.
Considering that he is the seventh defensemen and does not play every game, he has come into the lineup and impressed in his limited ice time. Dobson looks like an established veteran on the backend, and registered his first NHL point in his first career game. While he may not get tons of time this season if the Islanders remain healthy, he will most certainly be a top defenseman for New York in the future.
Most Disappointing: Jordan Eberle
While nearly nothing has gone wrong this season, it has been shocking to see the lack of production from Jordan Eberle. After signing a contract extension in the offseason following his terrific playoff performance against the Penguins, he has battled an injury and missed significant time this season.
He has yet to score a goal, but has had multiple good looks in the last few games. If the Islanders could get him going along with the production that they have gotten from guys like Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey, New York will be one of the toughest teams to beat in the NHL.
Best Win of the Season: Oct. 14 vs. St. Louis Blues
There have definitely been some impressive wins this season, as the Islanders have not done much losing. The game that sticks out as their biggest is one earlier this season against the reigning Stanley Cup champions St. Louis Blues.
The Islanders trailed 2-0 with just under five minutes remaining in the game. Nelson scored to bring the Islanders within one and shortly later with the net empty, Mat Barzal tied the game at two. The Islanders went on to win in overtime on a goal from Devon Toews, which was win number two of their 10-game winning streak.
Disappointing Loss: Nov. 17 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
This is probably one of the easiest choices out of all of them. The Islanders were on the verge of expanding their 10-game winning streak to 11.
The Islanders had a 3-0 lead heading into the third period and allowed the Penguins to tie the game before eventually falling in overtime on a goal from Bryan Rust.
The Islanders will continue their historic season with a big time road trip out west when they face the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday night. They will be looking to win at least one game on the road before coming back home for one game on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor degree in journalism. Originally from Long Island, he moved to Parkland shortly after high school. Matt worked as the assistant sports editor for his school paper, eaglenews.com in college becoming just one of nine students in his graduation class to serve over 1,000 community service hours. His goal is to travel to every Major League Baseball stadium, and has been to multiple US Open finals.