The identity of the New York Islanders is a tough, physical, defensive team. Who’s the first player that comes to your mind that’s on the Islanders who’s tough, physical, and defensive? Most people would say Cal Clutterbuck, or Casey Cizikas, possibly even Matt Martin.
Then there are the few people who say, Ross Johnston. Ross Johnston is a goon. He’s the enforcer, the head hunter, the brawler. This series vs. the Capitals is a brawler series. I mean, the Capitals have Tom Wilson, Radko Gudas, and Garnet Hathaway.
Many fans are calling for Ross Johnston to come in and replace Leo Komarov on the 3rd line so that the Islanders can fire back. Is this a smart move for the Islanders, though?
Why Ross Johnston Shouldn’t Start
As previously stated, Ross Johnston is a goon. You cannot go into playoff hockey with undisciplined players. Islanders fans saw their team take seven penalties in game one alone. The Islanders have a bad penalty kill, and the Capitals have Alex Ovechkin. Why risk losing a game because you want your goon to hurt Tom Wilson.
The playoffs are for teams who can win the Stanley Cup, not for teams who would rather fight other players. Also, what else does Johnston offer for this team? Leo Komarov at least can play on the penalty kill. Tom Kuhnhackl is great on the forecheck. Andrew Ladd offers veteran leadership and a winning mentality. Michael Dal Colle exists, I guess. Johnston just delivers hits. There’s no reason for Johnston to play unless he can show that he can bring more to this team, such as forechecking or good skating.
I don’t believe there’s a reason for Johnston to play for the rest of the playoffs. The Islanders are here to win the cup, not to injure other players.