New York Islanders fans who are big into fancy stats may want to prepare themselves.
In Elliotte Friedman’s final 30 Thoughts column of the summer, he spoke with Isles coach Jack Capuano about the possibility of reuniting former Toronto Maple Leafs teammates Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin on the same line.
As for Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, Capuano did not promise that they would be united, “But, we do know what the advanced stats say about them together.” (Hint: they are good.)
Their familiarity in Toronto made them two of the Leafs’ more productive forwards under Ron Wilson in 2010-11. That season, Kulemin scored 30 goals and Grabovski potted 29 and the pair combined for 117 points. If the Isles can unleash that sort of offensive production from their second line, they’ll be a very difficult team to deal with in the Eastern Conference.
With John Tavares returning from injury, New York’s offense would be worth the price of admission. Of course, it’s up to Capuano to see if the former Leafs teammates can find that old chemistry again.