The New York Islanders are playing its best hockey in years and it’s coming at the hands of the goal scorers. It’s not just the first line getting things done, it’s been a team effort top to bottom with everyone joining in on the party.
The Isles are second in the league in goals scored (89) and lead the league in goals per game (3.7). There’s no question that this is the best offensive team the New York Islanders have had in a long time. That comes with the fact that the power play still can’t quite figure it out either.
As the Islanders enter December they are set to have a good problem on their hands. Shane Prince is just days away from returning to game action for the first time this season. Prince missed the first two months after having ankle surgery back in August.
It’s never a bad thing to have too many hands-on-deck, especially for a good offensive team. Prince will be the 24th man on a 23 man roster. Garth Snow and company will have to decide a corresponding move when Prince comes off the injured reserve.
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The first option for the Isles would be to send someone down to Bridgeport. Bad news for Islanders fan is that the one viable option at this point would be Josh Ho-Sang. Ho-Sang has played much better hockey since returning to the big club and has two goals to show for it. I’m not recommending this be the move Snow makes but he’s a big fan of Prince and has been unpredictable in the development of Ho-Sang.
You could also test your luck with Alan Quine. Quine recently came off the IR himself and hasn’t played poorly but is easily replaceable.
The second option the Islanders have is to just not play Prince. They can leave him on IR for as long as they please. It’s a tough option for Prince himself but once he comes off, he is going to play. The 25-year-old doesn’t have any options to go to the minors and there is no doubt someone would pick him up if the Isles elected waivers. He will have a brief conditioning stint in the minors but that’s just about it. Snow could opt to leave him on IR until the time is right.
One last option would be to get rid of somebody else. Anyone the Isles get rid of would leave via the waiver wire or a trade and few players come to mind. It’s no secret Jason Chimera has been a severe disappointment through the season’s first 24 games.
Would the Isles ditch pending free agent Chimera to put Prince on the third line?
I doubt it. Although he hasn’t played well at all, he’s a leader in the locker room. It’s hard to break that up for a team playing so well. If Chimera could find his game it would another huge boost for one of the best scoring team’s in the league. He had 20 goals last year and is bound to find the scoring touch eventually. I hope.
Everyone else on offense is safe so if Snow were to let someone go it would have to be a defenseman. The Isles sit two defensemen every night and can certainly afford to let someone go, but who? If I had to guess it may be Dennis Seidenberg who is the odd man out. Hanging onto a one year deal, he’s the old man on the blue line and not having nearly the season he did last year.
A move like this would also assure more playing time for Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield.
My guess is that Prince will stay on the IR a little longer than he should. All depending on how long Casey Cizikas is out of the lineup or any injuries that come the Isles will have to make a tough decision soon.
I can’t imagine anyone will be happy with whatever Snow decides to do but his hand will be forced at this point. Prince will be another solid addition to the team whenever he’s ready to come back to the lineup.