No big shocks as the New York Islanders finalized their 23-man roster for the start of the NHL season. As we watched them
widdle whittle [ed. hilarious typo there] it down through a big Bridgeport reassignment and several IR listings, the final few choices became pretty clear.
However, one mild surprise is that 2011 1st-round pick Ryan Strome is staying for now. ("For now" is strictly my editorial opinion.) His signing a contract yesterday, just before the CBA deadline, was a strong indication that the Islanders at least wanted him around in the near term. With Nino Niederreiter on IR thanks to a groin, er "charley horse," Strome has a spot that Newsday's Arthur Staple figures will be in the press box on Opening Night.
One wonders if that will change though, with the temptation to unveil another shiny new toy in front of the home fans. Regardless, Staple's post was in advance of official word from the Islanders, so three cheers to the new Islanders beatwriter for nailing the roster.
Now then, barring injury is this what the Islanders opening night lineup looks like? It's how they've been doing it in practice:
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - P.A. Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Brian Rolston - Josh Bailey - Blake Comeau
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Jay Pandolfo
Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Mike Mottau
Kirill Kabanov goes back to juniors (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada), Dylan Reese and Trevor Frischmon (who both already cleared waivers) head to Bridgeport.
If Milan Jurcina still isn't ready to go, color me worried about that third pair. If the lineup holds, then ol' Devils Rolston and Pandolfo do not get the band back together, but instead Rolston tries to keep the Bailey-Comeau partnership on track while Pandolfo teams with Martin to try to make Reasoner's task less monumental.
There are challenges here for sure, though. Reasoner is a very good defensive center, but he has two wild cards on his wings. Rolston, meanwhile, missed much of camp with groinus decayus and carries more uncertainty than the two talented but enigmatic youngsters he lines up with.
Meanwhile, as expected the three-headed goalie monster begins the season with Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya all in the NHL. Staple predicts DiPietro starts with Nabokov backing up. I'd prefer Montoya dressed for time served, but we'll see. ... We'll see.