There are no surprises for those who followed along during preseason — you’re hereby forgiven if you did not, in pursuit of alternative sports tragedies — but one note if you’re just joining is that Cal Clutterbuck begins the season on IR with a (wait for it...) unspecified injury. The team has professed as little concern about the severity of Clutterbuck’s injury as you likely feel about whether he’s in the lineup.
Scott Mayfield also is deemed day-to-day, and close enough to possibly be available for opening night Thursday against the Panthers. So the Islanders have made it through another preseason without the kind of catastrophic Streit/Okposo injury of yore.
The Islanders will carry two extra forwards (14 total), whom you might reasonably suggest are Ross Johnston and September signing Nikita Soshnikov, and one extra defenseman (7 total), who is more probably Sebastian Aho.
Robin Salo has indeed won a spot on the blueline, as expected. Soshnikov signed out of the blue at age 28 after several seasons in the KHL, which followed multiple years in the Leafs organization under Lou Lamoriello. There are no guarantees and Lamoriello referred to his addition as an “entry-level contract,” though it is not technically that. (If I were to hazard a diagnosis, I’d call it an escape from geopolitical hell contract.)
Lamoriello, by the way, also did everyone the favor of speaking to the press, 13 minutes of which you can hear here. He said training camp went according to plan under new coach Lane Lambert, he praised the effort of the waived-and-demoted right shots Grant Hutton and Paul Ladue, and he said rookie forwards Aatu Raty and William Dufour had impressive camps, demonstrating that they’re closer to the NHL than expected.
- Dan and Mike wrap preseason (quickly) and get on to the business of forecasting the season with their trademark mixture of hope, bemusement and dread. Also: New merchandise, with a defining phrase. [Islanders Anxiety podcast]
- Isles preseason wrap: Various notes and quotes. [Athletic]
- The roster has a familiar feel, though hints at the future aren’t too far away. [Newsday]
- The Clutterbuck IR placement buys a little time for deciding on Bellows, Wahlstrom and Soshnikov. [Post]
- Prospect Report: Games underway in the CHL and elsewhere, but damn it I’m going to see more from the kid before I commit the spelling of Alexander Ljungkrantz to memory. [Isles]
- Here’s the Islanders’ official opening roster, also pasted below (in controversial line order) for posterity:
Zach Parise - Mathew Barzal - Kyle Palmieri
Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Kieffer Bellows
Josh Bailey - J-G Pageau - Anthony Beauvillier
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Ross Johnston
Oliver Wahlstrom, Nikita Soshnikov
Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock
Alex Romanov - Noah Dobson
Robin Salo - Scott Mayfield
- Here are all the league’s opening night rosters. In Arizona, Jakob Chychrun, Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd begin on the injured/non-roster list in various stages of their careers. In New Jersey, Nico Hischier begins on IR. [NHL]
- Meanwhile, the Leafs are so cap-strapped that if John Tavares isn’t ready to go on opening night, they’d play a man short. [TSN | Sportsnet]
- Preseason waiver wire: 59 players cleared (including Wayne Simmonds, assigned to the AHL), but the Winnipeg Jets claimed Axel Jonsson-Fjallby from the Washington Capitals, who also lost Brett Leason to the Ducks. Jarred Tinordi is no longer a Smurf, claimed by the Blackhawks to join the sad reconstruction project in Chicago. [Sportsnet]
- Ian Cole, accused by a Twitter user of grooming her as a minor, will have an in-person interview with the NHL as part of the league investigation. [ESPN]
- Power rankings and season preview: in which the Isles rank 17th but are “boldly predicted” to make the playoffs out of a tough division. [ESPN]
- #1 pick Juraj Slafkovsky will start the season on the Canadiens’ roster. [NHL]
- Old friend Derick Brassard has (re)found a home in Ottawa on a league-minimum deal. [NHL]