Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New York Islanders: Islanders Top Line Flexing Offensive Muscles


That is what you have to say at the scoring totals of the Islanders top line of John Tavares, P.A. Parenteau and Matt Moulson.

John Tavares is looking like the player that Islanders fans went nuts for at the Draft Party when he was drafted. His only criticism of the game he plays was his skating and strength. That issue has obviously been solved with Tavares working extensively with his skating coach to build up his strength on his skates. If the first four games of the season are any indication Tavares has been much tougher to push off the puck and has demonstrated a nose to find open space on the ice.

P.A. Parenteau is another story and is in a lot of ways the polar opposite of Tavares. If you called him a late bloomer you would be accurate. Last year was his breakout season when he scored 20 goals and had 33 assists primarily playing with Moulson and Tavares. So much is made of Garth Snow's pick ups of Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson. Do not forget about P.A. Parenteau. He has become a valuable asset to play with Tavares and is an excellent play maker. He currently has one goal and six assists in four games.

Matt Moulson was basically signed to make John Tavares more comfortable in his rookie season. He lit up the preseason two years ago and people said, he wont score in the regular season. Score he did. he netted 31 goals. The next year, people said he wont score near that many again. Then he went ahead and scored 30 more. He currently has four goals and six points in four games.

The chemistry exhibited by these three cannot be ignored any longer. Long gone are the days where three guys played together for a season or multiple seasons. Now coaches are always looking for the right mix and will mix and match lines. I happen to believe this is the wrong approach. Teams should be built the way the Islanders are building theirs. If you fine three guys who exhibit some chemistry and you stick with it.

To start the season Nino Niederreiter was slotted to play with Tavares and Moulson. Is it a stroke of luck that he pulled his hamstring and is now on injured reserve? The Islanders first line is in tact and should stay that way no matter what. These guy are playing like they are wirelessly connected and that is something you simply cannot teach.

Islander head coach Jack Capuano has a lot of other pieces besides his first line which should remain together untouched. I love the aspect of the high draft pick and two guys that Garth Snow plucked off the scrap heap and are now lighting up the NHL. He should absolutely try and find two more lines with chemistry and absolutely not touch the first line. They should lead the Islanders this season if the first four games are any indication.

It works. Stick with it and ride it for as long as it can possibly lasts. If its one month, great. If its the whole year, great. If its the rest of these young men's careers, great.

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