Already beloved by Islanders nation without playing a single regular season game, there’s some major disappointment around Uniondale with the news of Cal Clutterbuck’s injury on Tuesday night.
Cut by a skate, the laceration came when he collided with Calgary’s Paul Byron and sustained the wound to his leg. Islanders head coach Jack Capuano stated that the mustachioed-forward will miss “extended time.”
Now the Islanders have an opening at the wing possibly on the third line.
Enter Ryan Strome.
If there is a chance that the organization wants to get the kid’s feet wet, now would be that time.
There’s no timetable on Clutterbuck’s return quite yet, but Strome is right on the cusp of making this team.
Under the circumstances, this is low risk, high reward for both the young forward and the Islanders.
This is where the preseason is extremely important as ever as this can be the perfect tryout period. Forget about if this team wins or loses or how many goals Matt Moulson scores or how many hits Matt Martin has. Right now, this is the time to see how the squad interacts with each other.
It is essential that this team does not rush Strome into action. This responsibility all falls on the coaches and what they see. The Islanders are deep enough up front that if he is not ready, there is always someone else to come in and fill the void.
If he shows promise, tries not to do too much, and shows enough poise, he can very well make the opening night roster. You’ll be able to tell if the Islanders are seriously considering Strome if you see him on a line with Michael Grabner and Peter Regin this preseason as that will most likely be the team’s third line.
Let’s not jump the gun here and this is all speculation, but one also has to keep a close tab on how Pierre Marc-Bouchard performs in the first few weeks. IF Strome makes the team and if Bouchard proves he’s not up to snuff on the first unit don’t be surprised to see the rookie playing along John Tavares. It’s a duo Islanders fans have dreamed about for years and their assembly might be closer than we think.