Aatu Raty and Parker Wotherspoon have been recalled as the New York Islanders try to salvage something from their final pre-holiday break game.
The Florida Panthers are in town, facing an Islanders squad that look considerably different from their two October meeting, which were both Islanders regulation losses. Adam Pelech, Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Palmieri and Semyon Varlamov are all out and on IR — the latter two added today — while Raty and Wotherspoon have been called up from AHL Bridgeport to potentially make their NHL debuts.
Robin Salo, whose bid for a regular role has been rocky to say the least, rode the pine in last night’s loss at the Garden. He was battling, but not winning, in front of the net on the tying goal that went in off Barclay Goodrow past a screened Ilya Sorokin.
To be fair, Sebastian Aho was right there in front of the net on the game-winning goal, but that was such a bang-bang play, against expectation as it looked like the Isles had possession in the corner, I can’t fault Aho for being caught by surprise.
After losing the bid for the sixth D slot to Aho, Salo has only gotten regular action since Adam Pelech went out with what is believed by those outside the club to be a head injury. But Salo and Pelech are completely different defensemen, something that was exacerbated last night with Scott Mayfield and Alex Romanov each doing time in the penalty box.
It’ll be interesting to see if Wotherspoon, who has been in the organization since being drafted in 2015, will make something of this surprise Christmastime debut. Whatever happens, hats off to him for sticking with it over the years to finally get this special moment.
Oh, and then there’s Raty. In his first North American season (excluding his short appearance in last year’s AHL playoffs), he’s been a decently promising talent in Bridgeport who has played the proverbial “200-foot,” responsible game, according to Lane Lambert.
One more lineup consideration: Casey Cizikas, who left last night’s game after a collision with Matt Martin, is “day to day.” So lots of possibilities in the lineup, most pointing to NHL debuts for “gametime decisions” Raty and Wotherspoon.
Oh yeah, and in goal: Looks like it’s Sorokin again, on back-to-back nights, with Varlamov out and Cory Schneider waiting as backup.