The New York Islanders beat the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (what else is new?) in a preseason match Wednesday night, 4-3 in overtime on an Anthony Beauvillier winner. It’s preseason though, so what can we take from it?
That the Islanders tried Nick Leddy on the right side, his off side.
And that, as Barry Trotz stated earlier in the day, Tanner Fritz still has a shot at making the opening roster.
Fritz is no star, but he’s a talent who deserves a shot over the baker’s dozen of grinding forwards the Isles have created with all their summer additions. Fritz cleared waivers but wasn’t assigned to Bridgeport (yet) because he’s had a good camp. It’s just that, as Trotz said, the Islanders “have a lot of veterans.”
(Oh yeah: Ryan Pulock also had two goals, and nearly a third; but we already knew he is good and set for a fine season.)
Luca Sbisa, who we’ve already opined on, played his natural left side while Leddy played the right. There’s all kinds of concern there (and later, they put Thomas Hickey with Leddy and stuck Scott Mayfield with Sbisa), but also some insight, and humor.
First, the insight:
Barry Trotz said he moved Nick Leddy to the right side because the defenseman had played some on the right in Chicago and the Isles right now need a guy to play on their off-side. "He'd love to do that, he said there are some advantages to it."— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) September 27, 2018
...and the humor:
Me, to Leddy: “Been a while since you played the right side.”— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) September 27, 2018
Unnamed #Isles D-man walking by, to Leddy: “You played the left and the right when you were with Johnny B.”
Leddy, to me: “Make sure you write that I didn’t say it.”
Mathew Barzal makes opponents crap their pants, basically (look at the neutral zone collision):
(P.S. Tell me again why I have to get used to Thomas Hickey wearing Dennis Seidenberg’s old number now? Oh right, Lou’s Rules.)
Meanwhile, Beauvillier’s OT winner looked like a “Hey Henrik, you’re old” goal. Great placement, but still:
Pulock’s goals were bombs. You can find them in the Isles game recap.
Coach Trotz was happy with the effort, and happy with camp so far:
"Especially with a new team and new group they really are sponges. They've been fantastic. They've been listening and doing the right things.”— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) September 27, 2018
Trotz post-game interview: pic.twitter.com/tec7YRIt2G
Speaking of which...could Fritz push one of the summer signings out? I know I certainly hope so, even though Filppula and Kuhnhackl bring that “winning” culture and all that.
Barry Trotz said the last few roster spots still up for grabs. Singled out Tanner Fritz for some praise after 4-3 OT win over Rangers.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) September 27, 2018
"He made a good statement tonight and he’s going to push for a job if he continues to play the way he has."
With Sbisa pairing with an off-side Leddy, Adam Pelech paired with a sure thing Pulock, I have no idea what the Isles have planned for their D pairs. Maybe they don’t either.
But there’s one preseason game left. For me, it’s amazing that they could go into the opener not having Devon Toews in that top-six mix. But we’ll see after Friday night in Oshawa against the Sabres, one of the few teams expected to be worse than your 2018-19 Isles.