New York Islanders: Who Should be the 3rd Line Left-Winger?

ross johnston, New York Islanders

The current 3rd line left winger for the New York Islanders is Michael Dal Colle. The Islanders drafted OHL star Michael Dal Colle with the 5th overall pick in the 2014 NHL entry draft. There was no reason to not draft Dal Colle that high. His stats were amazing; Dal Colle recorded 90+ points two years in a row. Somewhere along the road, Dal Colle lost his way. It took him five years to actually make the team and six years to have a real spot. Dal Colle doesn’t provide offense, which is the thing the Isles drafted him for, he just forechecks. Most of the time, it feels like Dal Colle is just skating around out there and not doing anything. There are many other options for the 3rd line left-wingers spot whose names aren’t Michael Dal Colle.

Tom Kuhnhackl

Tom Kuhnhackl was fantastic for the Islanders during their play-in matchup against the Florida Panthers. His forechecking was magnificent, and due to this, Kuhnhackl created countless high scoring chances. JG Pageau’s goal in the first game wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Kuhnhackl pressuring the defenseman. Kuhnhackl’s passing was on full display during this series too. No Islander fan could forget Kuhnhackl’s through the legs pass to a Matt Martin tap in goal. Kuhnhackl deserves the spot more than anyone else on the team right now. His current play, mixed with his 2 Stanley Cup wins, gives him a leg up on the competition.

Ross Johnston

Who doesn’t love the enforcer, Ross Johnston? Probably not Tom Wilson, but that’s a different story. Johnston does his job, and he does it with maximum effort. He knows he’s there to backcheck, hip-check, forecheck, and then he gets to pick up the paycheck. Johnston is also not a bad skater for a big man. While he doesn’t have amazing speed, Johnston can hop up on the 3v2 rush. If Barry Trotz wants the hits to start coming against the Flyers, Johnston is your man for sure.



Derick Brassard

I don’t believe Brassard did anything wrong vs the Capitals. He isn’t the same player he once was, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a solid winger. He can also win the faceoff when Pageau gets kicked from the center position. Brassard just doesn’t give as much offense as Kuhnhackl or Johnston, but he gives a lot more than Dal Colle.

Conclusion

There are a plethora of wingers that should take Dal Colle’s spot, and for good reason. The Isles are real contenders for the first time in decades, and cannot put people like Dal Colle out there. There’s only so much room for error, and the Isles cannot make mistakes.