It’s finally time for the New York Islanders to make their toughest decision of the season.
Cal Clutterbuck is expected to be activated this evening off the injured reserve list, and seems to be ready to make his Islanders debut this Friday night in Chicago; however, in order to make room in the line-up for the team’s off-season acquisition, the organization’s brass is going to have to decide on a player to sit – not an easy call with the team at 2-0-1 through the season’s first three games.
Of course, this “problem” is exactly the type of problem the Islanders wanted to have when they overloaded their roster with NHL-caliber forwards during the summer. The roster has the proper depth in-place to keep the team pushing in the event of injury, slumps, etc., but again, the coaching staff still has a decision to make.
Before training camp began, it was clear that three Islanders – Peter Regin, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome – were battling for the same roster spot. After the first game of the preseason, Clutterbuck suffered a skate laceration, opening up two spots for the season’s opening. Regin and Nelson both made the team.
Now, three games into the season, Clutterbuck’s returning. The issue here is that Regin, the knee-jerk reaction to scratch before the season began, and Nelson have both been playing to keep their jobs, arguably to the point that they both deserve to stay.
Regin scored one goal and added one assist in last night’s victory over the Phoenix Coyotes, and Nelson add his first career NHL assist on said goal. Both have demonstrated tremendous chemistry with another on the ice, so with both playing remarkably well, is it possible another newcomer takes a seat?
Pierre-Marc Bouchard has struggled through the season’s first three games, and while it’s difficult to suggest the benching of a former 60-point scorer, is it too unreasonable to suggest he takes some time off to find where he fits on this roster during practice?
Bouchard has had a couple of scoring opportunities in his first games as a member of the Islanders, but with nothing to show for it, he could be the odd-man out.
And maybe you disagree with removing any of them. The Islanders have earned 5 out of a possible 6 points to start the season without Cal in the line-up. Maybe Capuano should leave the line-up as is, because don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?
I’ll leave it up to you, Isles fans. Who should sit when Cal Clutterbuck makes his Islanders debut?