The Islanders took to the ice for their first training camp session yesterday and one of the players who will be in the fight for one of the open forward spots at camp got off to a good start.
Dmytro Timashov, whose rights Isles acquired a month ago from the Detroit Red Wings, stood out.
An unsigned RFA â€” although it seems he will be given a contract soon â€” Timashov is projected to be in the group looking to claim the third-line winger role left behind by Derick Brassard, who signed with Arizona last week after not being offered a new deal. He also has a solid chance of being on the taxi squad for the Isles as a result of the expanded rosters for the shortened season and COVID-19 protocols.
â€œHe did a real good job. Heâ€™s a real solid player,â€ head coach Barry Trotz said to the media.
Timashov starting off strong could be an indication of why g.m. Lou Lamoriello dealt for him. Lamoriello actually drafted the 24-year-old when he was still running the Maple Leafs. So thereâ€™s a familiarity there.
â€œWhat stands out about him, heâ€™s got a really good skill level,â€ Trotz added.
That word skill, the Islanders donâ€™t have much of it aside from Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey and J.G. Pageau. So any injection of it will be welcome especially for where Timashov would most likely slot in the lineup. But heâ€™s also an unknown to this point.
Timashovâ€™s been seen mostly in AHL the past few years but did push his way on to the Leafs roster this past season whereÂ he played in 39 games and recorded nine points before being claimed on waivers by Detroit.
Thatâ€™s what makes him a bit of a wild card for the Islanders at this particular moment.
â€œHeâ€™s not physically a tall player but heâ€™s a physically strong player. I think he has a really good upside and a guy that can play multiple positions. He fit in really well today,â€ said Trotz.
Timashov has another nine days until the Islanders open the season against the Rangers at MSG. But in that time though, he could be the one who separates himself from the rest of the pack and wins a regular role.
As an under-the-radar signing, it would be quite the surprise to see Timashov get the spot over the favorites â€” Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows â€” but heâ€™s got just as good a chance as anyone.
Everyone was well aware going into camp that the battle for the third-line wing was going to be one of bigger storylines to unfold. Timashovâ€™s presence adds another element of unpredictability.
A true wild card, one maybe the Isles will benefit from.
If youâ€™re an Isles fan, youâ€™ve already fallen in love with Barry Trotz always telling it like it is. But when he basically says he sees his team as Stanley Cup contenders, itâ€™s hard to not take him for his word.
Sure everyone knows the flaws facing the organization â€” does a sniper or two ring a bell? â€” but this group has now evolved with each passing season since Trotz arrived. And to be honest, this group has proven over the past two years they can play and defeat the best the NHL has to offer.
So, how about embracing it?
Hard to blame fans for fawning over the sight of Ilya Sorokin yesterday that was all over social media. Waiting over five years to bare witness to the so-called â€œgoalie of the futureâ€ can do that.
Heâ€™ll be one of the top storylines over the next week, and when he finally speaks it should be interesting hear what he has to say.
Here he is #Isles fans, the "White Whale"! Your first look at new goalie Ilya Sorokin. @News12LI @islesgirl10 @islessignguy @Bluelinedeli719 @ExIsledUsher @RTaub_ @IslesGirl3 What do you think? pic.twitter.com/RnV9cUrT1e
— Kevin Maher (@KMaherNews12) January 4, 2021
Jakub Skarek posted his look for what heâ€™ll be sporting throughout Isles camp. Very sharp.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) January 4, 2021