Has The Islanders Team Speed Improved?

New York Islanders/Twitter

It has been well-documented for many years now that the Islanders play the game of hockey too slowly and have endured the pain because of it. Over the years, fans and analysis league-wide have whined endlessly about the boring styles of play the Islanders have and their inability to push the pace of play with speed. It got old, and it got old fast. The Islanders were still having success, but it was a boring success. However, the success started to slow down as teams began to learn how to play against it. That is where the Islanders have struggled at times over the last two seasons.

It was time for a change.

So, with recent roster moves Lou Lamoriello has made over the last eight months, the Islanders got a lot faster. The acquisition and re-signing of Pierre Engvall brought immediate speed to the group. Engvall, who stands at 6′ 5”, has some of the best straight-line speed in all of the NHL. His stride is quite powerful, using his strong, long legs to explode down the ice. Engvall was a pleasant surprise last season for the Islanders, and there’s a reason he was brought back on a new seven year deal. The Islanders just flat-out believe in the speedy Swed. Lamoriello also brought in speedster Julien Gauthier on a two-year deal.

Gauthier, who was a former 1st round pick, has bounced around the league in his younger years, most notably having bits and pieces of success with the New York Rangers. Similar to Engvall, Gauthier has size and speed. Standing at 6′ 4”, Gauthier is a strong, speedy bottom-six forward who has big play potential in just one burst of speed on a rush. Gauthier has impressed in his preseason starts and hopes to earn a spot in the lineup for opening night.

Not to mention, the Islanders new 68 million dollar man can move his legs pretty quickly too. Bo Horvat’s got some wheels, and playing alongside speedy Mat Barzal for a full season should only be beneficial for both of them. The Islanders are expecting career years out of both Bo and Barzy.

Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri are both strong, play-driving forwards ready for another big year.

What can the Islanders get out of Oliver Wahlstrom’s legs coming off the ACL tear?

Moving to the back end, Alexander Romanov, entering his 2nd season as an Islander, can flat-out skate. He has terrific edges, moves the puck well up ice, and can skate in transition. Fellow blue-liner Sebastian Aho is a one man breakout and potentially the Islanders fastest straight-line skater. Adam Pelech, Noah Dobson, and Ryan Pulock are all plus skaters compared to the average NHL d-man. The Islanders blue line will have some nice legs a year more mature this season, which could pay dividends.

So, all of a sudden, the Islanders top 6 and defensive groups are quick, skilled, efficient, and poised for a big season. The best players in the world possess great speed. Over the past few seasons, the best teams can skate. The Islanders, with their newly revamped and developing speed group, hope they can join the trend.

We will see.

2 thoughts on “Has The Islanders Team Speed Improved?

  1. True the NHL is definitely a speed game league . As the writer says, can the Islanders individual speed, equal team speed in games? And I definitely agree with “ we will see“

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