The Islanders may have lost C John Tavares, but new head coach Barry Trotz doesn't believe it will kill their offensive output.
Yes, Tavares accounted for 82 points last season, but Trotz thinks he has the personnel to find offensive success this upcoming season.
"This team can score, with John Tavares or without John Tavares," Trotz told The Athletic's Arthur Staple in a Q&A session. "The area it's failed in maybe the last year and a half is on the defensive end. Just looking at the trends over the last four years, it's clear that's an area we need to fix. ...With the John Tavares situation, we look forward, we can't look back. Guys are up to the challenge. John's a fantastic player, face of the franchise and it's a hole you can't fill with one guy. It's collectively with the group."
Without Tavares, Trotz is going to have to lean on players like the 2018 Calder Trophy winner, Mathew Barzal, and Anders Lee to put pucks in the back of the net. He also doesn't believe in simply throwing the puck at the net, and hoping to get a good bounce to find the twine.
Instead, he is looking for this Islanders team to get high-quality shots on goal, which have a greater chance of tacking one on the scoreboard.
"We're looking for quality," he said. "A lot of people put a lot of value in analytics into shots on goal, or shot attempts. I put more value on quality shots," Trotz explained. "It's like quality chances vs. regular scoring chances. An unscreened shot from the blue line goes in maybe one per cent of the time. If you get into the hash marks, below the circles, lateral plays, they go up to 20, 30, 40, 50 per cent.
"I'd rather have one 40-percenter than 40 one-percenters. And that's where the league is going, I think. Most of the high-scoring teams aren't just putting pucks to net for volume."
But, as he stressed before, Trotz wants to see better defense from his squad this season. He believes if everyone on the roster buys into making the changes necessary to sure up their own net, it will translate into offense.
"One of the easiest things to correct, if there's a commitment and a buy-in, is keeping the puck out of your net," Trotz said. "We'll need a bigger buy-in, we'll put some structure, we'll make sure the details are there and we'll make players accountable.
"If they're not, we'll get someone who can be accountable."
Trotz, who gets his time with the Stanley Cup on Aug. 22, knows there is a lot of work to be done to make the Islanders a contender next season. And he is committed to working alongside Lou Lamoriello to make sure that the production of his team without their now former captain goes off without a hitch.
"We've gotten a lot done and there's still a lot to do," Trotz said. "It's good that we've got a month to go before training camp. I feel very confident in what we're doing. Communicating with Lou, we're knocking out one thing at a time. Rome's not built in a day so we don't expect it to be."