The New York Islanders are back in Bridgeport one more time for their preseason finale vs. the Rangers, part of a doubleheader at the Isles AHL affiliate venue, where the Baby Islanders won 6-3 over the Junior Smurfs this afternoon.
This one is broadcast on MSG+ and MSG GO.
The lineup looks a lot like what we expect they’ll use on opening night.
Matt Martin is still on his way back from offseason ankle surgery, so that’s an open question who will take his place. Ross Johnston is in that spot for the preseason finale, but you never know when Barry Trotz will return to the Leo Komarov well.
Lee - Barzal - Palmieri
Beauvillier - Nelson - Bailey
Parise - Pageau - Wahlstrom
Johnston - Cizikas - Clutterbuck
Pelech - Pulock
Chara - Dobson
Greene - Mayfield
Ilya Sorokin, who was to get the full game in Thursday’s canceled match in Newark, will instead start tonight and is sure to carry the goaltending load until Semyon Varlamov is ready to share it again.
Lurking around all of this is the fact they can’t fit everyone they’d like to keep on the 23-man roster, so they’ll be creative with waivers and perhaps even count on losing a depth piece. They also might have one roster for the official deadline (Monday) and another for their actual first game.
Barry Trotz said to media that GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t “finished assembling” the roster — a rare tip of the hand — or diversion? — that some external moves may be in the works.
Speaking of which, will Erik Gustafsson, a defenseman who’s had a productive camp on a PTO, be signed before the season starts? Well-regarded imports Robin Salo and Anatolii Golyshev do not require waivers, so Bridgeport is likely in their immediate future. Thomas Hickey and Richard Panik were the latest to hit waivers, today.
With Richard Panik waived, between the retained salary transactions and the $1.125M burying threshold, he’d carry a $250K cap hit for the #Isles if he’s assigned to the minors https://t.co/CwKr7yo62y https://t.co/hv5sKCNMBC— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) October 9, 2021
That’s the roster backdrop to this finale. The other side is that the Rangers may likewise be looking to field-test their regular season lineup. Which means we could see the New and Improved and Toughened version of the Isles rivals, who wilted against the conference finalists down the stretch last season, reportedly contributing to the management overhaul and denting of the team bus to make it look mean.