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31 in 31

New York Islanders key statistics

Varlamov's save percentage could improve under strong defensive system

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / Staff Writer is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the New York Islanders.


[Islanders 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Fantasy breakdown]


1. Varlamov's save percentage

Semyon Varlamov is 13th among goalies with 183 NHL wins since 2011-12, his first season as a No. 1 with the Colorado Avalanche. His .915 save percentage over that span is tied with Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings for 16th among goalies to play at least 300 games. It's worth noting that Varlamov's .921 save percentage at even strength is tied for 20th with James Reimer, Antti Niemi and Craig Anderson. Those numbers could drastically improve this season playing for the Islanders, who allowed the fewest 5-on-5 goals (127) in 2018-19. With a strong defensive system under coach Barry Trotz, Varlamov could enjoy similar success to Robin Lehner, a Vezina Trophy finalist from last season.

Video: What Islanders still need as offseason moves along


2. Toews' power-play ice time

The Islanders finished 29th in power-play percentage (14.5 percent) in the regular season but eighth (20.0 percent) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. An adjustment was made when defenseman Devon Toews' power-play time on ice increased from 1:46 per game in the regular season to 3:19 per game in the postseason. It was no coincidence that Toews and forward Jordan Eberle were tied for first on the Islanders with four power-play points in eight playoff games. Expect New York to carry this special-teams placement into the season.

Video: 31 in 31: New York Islanders 2019-20 season preview


3. Barzal's SAT

Despite seeing a drop from 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) in his rookie season to 62 (18 goals, 44 assists) in 2018-19, Mathew Barzal's underlying statistics suggest that the 22-year-old center will bounce back. He led Islanders forwards with a plus-73 SAT in 82 games and was tied with center Brock Nelson for the New York lead in even-strength points (44). Though Barzal's power-play points dipped from 27 to 18, he is likely to have at least 20 this season if the Islanders improve on the man-advantage. He was given every opportunity to succeed with the highest 5-on-5 zone starts percentage (61.68 percent) among Islanders to play at least 10 games. This means Barzal started in the defensive zone 38 percent of the time, down from 49 percent in 2017-18.

Video: Top 10 plays of 2018-19: Barzal


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