I had to go three pages back in the photo editor to find happy Islanders pictures. (No, I don't count Parenteau celebrating his goal in a 7-1 rout as a happy picture.)
While the Islanders have improved special teams in 2010-11 (PP is 7th and PK is 16th in the league), the 5-on-5 play has been hideous. It's currently last in the league at 5-5 F/A at .40, a number which brings up flashes of the 08-09 Islanders. That got me to wondering what the line combos have been and who has been playing with who. Scott Gordon tends to have steady line pairings and then rotate a 3rd player in and out.
John Tavares is the best example of that, as 50% of his even strength ice time is played with Matt Moulson. Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau also tend to be on the ice together 30-40% of the time. Among the defenseman the top four of Mark Eaton - Radek Martinek and James Wisniewski - Mike Mottau have played together nearly 75% of the time.
What follows is a run-down of each player's most frequent linemates so far, and for the forwards, where their even-strength production has been. You might find some surprises. (Note: A great resource to find this kind of data is Dobber Hockey's "Frozen Pool" fantasy tools.)
The Frans Nielsen - Matt Moulson - Trent Hunter line is easily the most successful. Nielsen and Hunter are the closest to scratching out an even +/-, each at -1 currently. Doug Weight has done an excellent job playing babysitter, playing most of his shifts with youngster Nino Niederreiter and Michael Grabner who joined the team on the eve of the regular season.
The continued pairing of Blake Comeau and John Tavares. As Benhansa pointed out over the summer, it's a combination that helped neither player last year. P.A. Parenteau's inability to score on even strength is surprising, given that he's been lined up with just about everyone. The injury to Andrew MacDonald not only moved Jack Hillen into the lineup, but Milan Jurcina and Hillen have both bounced around trying to find a steady pairing -- most recently Hillen being paired with Bruno Gervais after Jurcina's injury.
Top Pairing = Matt Moulson 51%
Third Forward = Blake Comeau 23%, P.A. Parenteau 16%, Nino Niederreiter 10%
All three even strength points have come with Matt Moulson. The third forwards for each EV point were Blake Comeau, Frans Nielsen and Jon Sim.
Top Pairing = John Tavares 34%
Top Lines = Trent Hunter - Frans Nielsen 24% Blake Comeau - John Tavares 16% PA Parenteau - John Tavares 12%
Top Production = Three of his five even strength points have come while paired with Frans Nielsen.
Top Pairing = Blake Comeau 30%-40% PA Parenteau 24%
Top Lines = Blake Comeau - PA Parenteau 19% Blake Comeau - Doug Weight = 16% Frans Nielsen - PA Pareteau = 5%
Top Production = Only two even strength points. Both with Comeau, with Parenteau and Koponoka being the third man for one occasion each.
Top Pairing = Josh Bailey 27%, PA Parenteau 20%
Top Lines = Matt Moulson - John Tavares 17%, Josh Bailey - PA Parenteau 15%, Josh Bailey - Doug Weight 13%
Top Production = 2 Points with Josh Bailey, 2 points with PA Parenteau, 2 Points with Zenon Konopka.
Top Lines = Josh Bailey - Blake Comeau 20%, Matt Moulson - John Tavares 16%, Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen 8%
Top Production = One even strength point, scored with Nielsen and Grabner.
Top Line = Doug Weight - Nino Niederreiter 27%
Other Linemates = Frans Nielsen - PA Parenteau 10% Zenon Konopka - Jon Sim 8%
Top Production = Two points with Doug Weight and Nino Niederreiter, one point with Frans Nielsen and Doug Weight, one point with Frans Nielsen and PA Parenteau
Top Pairing = Nino Niederreiter 30%
Top Lines = Michael Grabner - Nino Niederreiter 20%, Josh Bailey - Blake Comeau 14% Matt Martin - Nino Niederreiter 6%
Top Production = Twp points with Nino Niederreiter and Michael Grabner, one point with Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen, one point with Josh Bailey and Matt Martin.
Top Line = Trent Hunter - Matt Moulson 30%
Other Lines = Michael Grabner - PA Parenteau 8%, Trent Hunter - Matt Martin 7%
Top Production = All Even Strength points (5) have come with either Moulson or Hunter on the ice with him, including one with both of them on the ice.
Top Pairing = Trent Hunter 31%
Top Lines = Trent Hunter - Zenon Konopka 17% Trent Hunter - Frans Nielsen 14% Nino Niederreiter - Doug Weight 12% Josh Bailey - Rob Schremp 8%
Top Production = One point so far, on the ice with Frans Nielsen and Trent Hunter.
Top Pairing = Mark Eaton 74%
Other Pairings = Mike Mottau 14%, Andrew MacDonald 4%, Jack Hillen 3%
Top Pairing = Milan Jurcina 67%
Other Pairings = Jack Hillen 15%, Radek Martinek = 9
Top Pairing = Mike Mottau 76%
Other Pairings = Mark Eaton 11%, Jack Hillen 5%
Top Pairing = Radek Martinek 79%
Other Pairings = James Wisniewski 10%, Milan Jurcina 4%
Top Pairing = James Wisniewski 65%
Other Pairings = Milan Jurcina 15% Radek Martinek 14%
Top Pairing = Andrew MacDonald 45%
Other Pairings = Mike Mottau 25% Jack Hillen 19% Mark Eaton 7%
Top Pairing = Bruno Gervais 37%
Other Pairings = Milan Jurcina 26% Andrew MacDonald 14% James Wisniewski 10%
Top Pairing = Jack Hillen 67%
Other Pairings = Mark Eaton 13% Mike Mottau 5% Radek Martinek 4%
* * *
Any surprises you see?