Who Has Had the Most Underrated Start to the Season?

Hello Islanders fans! We are now 5 games in to the season and it already feels like this season is flying by.  The Islanders are off to one of there best starts in over a decade. They have 3 players in the top 25 of scoring. Reliable top 4 defensemen. And a starting goaltender who is playing like an all-star caliber goalie, compared to previous starters that the Isles have thrown between the pipes.

John Tavares, Brock Nelson, Johnny Boychuck, and Kyle Okposo are the players that have been mentioned the most through the first 5 games, so I wont be talking about them in this blog.  Instead, I would prefer to talk about the most underrated players through the first 5 games of the season.

These two players in particular have captured my attention the most this season.

Number one. Ryan Strome.  I know what you might be thinking.  Ryan Strome isn't being overlooked. But, in my opinion, he is.

Yes, he was a very talked about player during the preseason, but since the start of the season he has quietly accumulated 5 pts in his 5 games this season. His forechecking has gotten significantly better since the start of the preseason, and his defensive game gets better every game as well.

Strome is still very young, and his potential is sky high, so as long as Capuano continues to use him smartly Strome should develop in to a very reliable winger/center.  Unfortunately for Strome and Nelson, one of the key contributors toward the success of their line, Mikhail Grabovoski, is now battling concussion symptoms.  If the Isles are to have any hope of adding on to their strong start, they are going to need Strome to continue playing at a high level, and his fellow linemates are going to need to contribute as well.

Number two. Nick Leddy.  Again, everyone may think that Nick Leddy is not being undervalued at all this season, but I would once again disagree. 

Leddy has been one of the most talked about players on the team since he was acquired a few weeks ago.  However, the talk has been mostly about what Leddy can bring to the team versus what Leddy is doing for the team.

First of all, this guy has some wheels. His ability to stay with speedy forwards is a huge asset for the Isles. The Isles d-corps has not been known for it's speed over the last few years. In fact, it's really just been known to be bad in general.  But, with Leddy, the Isles have a Dman that can skate with the greats, and really keep the pressure toward the outside of the zone.

Second, his offensive ability is a very nice complement to his speed.  Leddy now has three point in his first 5 games with the Isles.  He has very good eyes, and a rocket of a shot.  He has the potential to possibly quarterback a powerplay, but for now it seems he will have to fight with Boychuck and Viz for that role as the season goes on.

To think that the Isles, just a year ago had Andrew Macdonald quarterbacking the powerplay. Smh. 

Leddy has been a huge part of the Isles recent resurgence into the mainstream media buzz, but not necessarily for the right reasons.  Like I said, his potential is what has been discussed mostly, not what he has already done.  And what he has already done is give the Islanders a defenseman that every team has to be mindful of, because not only can he play a solid defensive game, but he can quickly change gears and turn the puck up ice just as easily.

If these Islanders younglings can continue to produce and make waves, the team is in for a very fun season.

Next up for the Isles are the Toronto Maple Leafs this Tuesday, at 7pm.  A win would surely continue to build the confidence of this group of players, and confidence is seriously what this team needs.  It is confidence that lead the team to lose leads time and time again last year, and it is confidence that will help this team play more smart in times where they really need to(the 3rd period).

For any more information, questions, or if you simply just want to talk hockey, you may follow me on twitter @islestopshelf, or email me at brandonhormann@yahoo.com.  Have a great night Islanders Nation.

Also, follow @TCLIsles on twitter for more of your New York Islanders needs.