The NHL is allowing an expanded roster to come to the bubble in Toronto. All teams are allowed to have 28 skaters and three goalies on their roster. The New York Islanders have some big decisions when it comes to who they’re going to bring. But, it looks like general manager Lou Lamoriello has already made his decision. Let’s see the group that will go to Toronto.
Taking a looks the unofficial New York Islanders team:
Anders Lee, Mat Barzal, and Jordan Eberle will all stay on the same line in Toronto. This is a very dangerous first line, especially when Eberle feels comfortable shooting. Then you have Barzal making defenders miss and passing it out to Eberle, who shoots, and then Lee tips it in and scores.
The next line is Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, and Josh Bailey. Again, this is another line that can be lethal if Beauvillier is comfortable. Bailey has tremendous passing abilities, Beauvillier has the speed to beat any defender, and Nelson has a great wrist shot. The 3rd line will be Tom Kuhnhackl/Ross Johnston, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Derick Brassard. Pageau needs better linemates. There’s no refuting that statement. Brassard has been on a cold streak since January, and Johnston/Kuhnhackl is Johnston/Kuhnhackl. The 4th line is Matty Martin, Casey Cizikas, and Cal Clutterbuck.
This line doesn’t surprise any Islander fan. It’s the best 4th line in the league. The extra forwards are Andrew Ladd, Otto Koivula, Leo Komarov, and Michael Dal Colle. This means that rookies Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom will not be making the trip to Toronto. The Islanders just don’t want to burn a year off their entry-level contracts, so it’s an understandable move. This forward group needs to start scoring again if they want a chance at the Stanley Cup.
The returning Adam Pelech will be linemates with star Ryan Pulock. This is easily the Islanders’ best defensemen by light-years. Pulock is arguably top 20 in the league, and Pelech is making his way up there. Devon Toews and Scott Mayfield are on the 2nd line. Again, not a surprise to any Islanders fans. Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk man the 3rd line, but this doesn’t mean they’re the starters. Trotz has stated how impressed he was by Adam Greene and Noah Dobson. Islanders fans could see Greene and Dobson takeover the 3rd line. Sebastian Aho and Thomas Hickey will both make the trip as extra defensemen. This means that Grant Hutton will not make the trip to Toronto. The defense will hopefully come up big for the Islanders, the same as they always do.
Seymon Varlamov is going to be the starter for the 2020 playoffs. Varlamov has been great in practice and just better than Greiss. Thomas Greiss will be the backup, possibly rotating in depending on Varlamov’s play. The 3rd goalie will be Christopher Gibson. This surprised me, Jakub Skarek was supposed to be the 3rd goalie going to Toronto. I guess Gibson just had the better training camp. The final goalie going will be Ilya Sorokin. Sorokin cannot play due to the new CBA agreement, but he will get the maximum amount of reps in practice. Varlamov and Greiss need to be on their “A” game in less than a week’s time.
These lineups aren’t official, but Lou Lamoriello said yesterday, “If you were watching practice, you know what are decisions were.” The Islanders have a lot to prove in this play-in round, and it all starts August 1st.