Barry Trotz knows that third-line mates Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov don’t have good advanced analytics numbers. But the Islanders’ coach also knows what he sees on the ice and how the Finnish forwards interact with their teammates.
Trotz trusts his eyes to confirm that the Islanders were right to bring in both as free agents despite the outside derision the signings brought.
The Islanders were off Friday in advance of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Stars to conclude a three-game homestand at Barclays Center. Filppula, 34, had three assists, including the 300th of his career, in Thursday night’s 7-5 win over the Rangers. Komarov, 31, added a goal and an assist. They formed instant chemistry with struggling Anthony Beauvillier, 21, who notched his first career hat trick and added an assist.
“They’re true pros,” Trotz said. “Sometimes there’s a lot more value in the intangibles. They know how to play and they’re committed. Those are intangibles that you can’t put any numbers on.”
Filppula signed a one-year, $2.75-million deal after a season-plus with the Flyers and has five goals — on only 15 shots — and seven assists this season. But his Corsi is 37.8 percent after he was 44.0 percent last season.
Corsi is an advanced statistic based on shot attempts that is a good indicator of puck possession. Fifty percent is considered a good Corsi and 55 percent is an elite number.
Komarov signed a four-year, $12-million deal after five seasons with the Maple Leafs. The length of his contract and the fact that it came hours after John Tavares agreed to a seven-year, $77-million deal with the Maple Leafs made the move an easy target for criticism. He has three goals and five assists this season and a Corsi of 35.3. Last season, he was at 44.8.
Both are key penalty-killers for the Islanders (10-6-2).
“You have players on every team that the analytics community or the average Joe Fan goes, ‘I’m not sure, there’s got to be someone better or someone more dynamic or more appealing,’ ” Trotz said. “But they get the job done and, within a team culture, those guys are invaluable.”
That was evident in how they helped Beauvillier rediscover his scoring touch. He entered the game with a lone point in his first 16 games after recording 21 goals and 15 assists last season.
“I think it’s pretty easy to play with us because we’re just playing simple,” Komarov said. “But I don’t think we’ve been that good.”
The numbers may suggest that. Trotz strongly disagrees.