As 2016 draws to a close, the New York Islanders are finally hitting their stride. After a slow start to the season, the Boyz from Brooklyn have gone 7-2-1 in their last ten games and are poised at the edge of post-season eligibility.

At 18-14-7-1, the benefits of a few trades are now apparent. Casey Cizikas has brought a new tougher attitude, leading the team in both hits (by a substantial margin) and game winning goals.

Casey’s scoring touch has flourished now that he’s skating with Nikolaj Ehlers on his wing. Ehlers was shifted to the 3rd line after the acquisition of Jussi Jokinen, who is pacing the Islanders with 25 assists and 36 points.

Another statistic that stands out is the plus 9 put up by both Kyle Palmieri and Justin Huberdeau. These two young forwards are both power play stalwarts but now they are winning the battle at even strength as well.   With the team allowing as many goals as it scores, plus 9 is a significant departure.

But not all is rosy in Brooklyn. The team is still in the bottom two in allowing 28.8 shots on goal per game. Only the lowly Kings and Stars allow more.

Another area of concern is discipline. The team has taken more PIMs than all but 4 other teams. The goony Oilers lead in that area, followed by the Flyers, Stars, Canucks and Isles.

All in all, the Isles are indeed still an improving team but stand in the doorway to the post season after too many years of futility.