The NHL has agreed to resume play on January 13th, that’s not too far from now. And the New York Islanders lineup still has a ton of questions left to be answered. Questions such as, who will be on the third line? What will the defensive lines look like without Devon Toews? Will Oliver Wahlstrom or Kieffer Bellows make the cut? These are the questions that go through the head of every Islanders fan daily. So, what will the lines look like when the Islanders take the ice next?
I don’t think this line will change that much. Jordan Eberle had a down year last year and looks out of place sometimes, but there’s no one to take him down a line. The first line is going to be Anders Lee, Mat Barzal, and Jordan Eberle for at least one more year. When all three of these forwards are on their game, it’s hard to slow them down. Yes, I believe Mat Barzal will be signed within the coming weeks. The contract negotiations just resumed between the two sides the other day. As for the defense, it’s going to be Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock. No shockers here.
During the playoffs, the Islanders had the best second line in Hockey. The combination of Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, and Anthony Beauvillier was dangerous. These 3 have some of the best chemistry I’ve ever seen in Hockey. There’s no way you can break this line up. It just wouldn’t make sense to do that. Now, for the defense, Nick Leddy and Scott Mayfield will man the second line. The only reason not putting Noah Dobson on this line for Leddy is not wanting two guys with the same shooting hand. I still think you can get around this, but no one really knows Dobson’s abilities.
There’s only one guy on this line who I know will actually be here. J.G. Pageau will be the third line center, and he’s not a third-line guy. Pageau plays like a top 6 forward, and if the Islanders didn’t have Nelson or Barzal, he would be in the top 6. On the left-wing of Pageau, I have Leo Komarov. Leo Komarov is a grinder, and Barry Trotz loves his grinders. On the right-wing of Pageau, I have Kieffer Bellows. I understand Bellows shoots left-handed, but he’s waited a long time for this opportunity, I don’t think he can let this one slip away. Very easy to see Oliver Wahlstrom take this spot, though. The bottom pairing for the defense is none other than Noah Dobson and Andy Greene. Greene will most likely retire after this year, but not before transferring all his knowledge to Dobson.
Albert Einstein was called one of the smartest men on Earth when he discovered the equation: E=mc^2. Barry Trotz is called one of the best coaches in Hockey for keeping Martin, Clutterbuck, and Cizikas together. These three play their best Hockey when they’re together. Though they may be older and slower than they once were, they still get the job done. I don’t see Ross Johnston taking anyone’s spot for a long time.
I think it’s pretty obvious who will be in net this year. It’s going to be the duo of Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin, and I think every Islander fan already knew this.