With World Cup-worn stars John Tavares and Jaroslav Halak getting their preseason debuts in the New York Islanders’ final warmup before the season starts, the Isles will dress a close-to-opening-night roster Sunday evening in Washington.
But the camp competitions that have lasted this far into training camp are still on display.
Namely, training camp signing (and fellow World Cup participant) Dennis Seidenberg gets another look, this time with the left-shooting but right-side-comfortable German next to Calvin de Haan. With Nick Leddy consistently pairing with de Haan’s old partner, Hamonic, it looks like the question is how the other two pairings will be composed. Thomas Hickey and Johnny Boychuk make up the other pair tonight.
That all relates to the other remaining battle: Both Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal, top prospects who must be returned to juniors if they aren’t kept on the NHL roster, are in the lineup tonight.
They’ve each had impressive camps, but the question is whether they can carry that over into the regular season when all teams are fielding full lineups with actual game results on the line.
But if the Islanders want to buy time to further evaluate Beauvillier and Barzal -- each can play nine NHL games before the first year of their contracts trigger — then Pulock’s waiver exemption could provide flexibility. The thinking there would be that if they start the season with Seidenberg in the top six, assign Pulock to Bridgeport to start, then that’s one more roster spot to evaluate the forward prospects.
Those first and fourth lines look like the lines that have been in the cards all preseason long. (This is the first time Tavares is there, but his position as first-line center has biblical permanence.)
Brock Nelson is the only “sure thing” forward not in that lineup, though Alan Quine and injured Shane Prince are also in the mix. And if you’re counting roster assignment moves, there’s always Eric Boulton.
As noted Halak is in goal, backed up by Thomas Greiss.