Editorials

New York Islanders Putting Tanner Fritz On Top Line is Insane

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Tanner Fritz
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Tanner Fritz /
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At today’s practice, New York Islanders coach decided to juggle his top line a bit. By placing AHL call-up Tanner Fritz in beside John Tavares and Anders Lee. Which is insane.

What New York Islanders coach Doug Weight is doing to the Islanders top line at least in practice is insane. It seems that the coach has decided to tinker with the top line of John Tavares, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey. Josh Bailey has been dropped to the third line and Tanner Fritz is getting bumped up.

Excuse me? Tanner Fritz could potentially play top line minutes for the Islanders? The very same New York Islanders team that’s falling further behind the standings and further out of a playoff spot. Those Islanders?

That’s insanity. I’m sure you heard it before, but doing something over and over again and expecting different results is insane.

Historic Recurrence

This isn’t the first time that the New York Islanders have decided to put a fourth or third line player up next to Johnny over the last two years. And both times it worked splendidly. (That last sentence is dripping with sarcasm).

A year ago, while Jack Capuano was still in charge, he gave noted human battering ram Cal Clutterbuck a spot on the top line. For about two weeks Cal played next to Tavares and Bailey, producing a whopping two points. Then, earlier this season it was Alan Quine’s turn to take a spin with Tavares. Guess how many points Quine got? That’s right zero.

More from Eyes On Isles

Now Tanner Fritz inexplicably gets a shot at playing with Tavares. A player that has one point in 17 games played. He’s going up to the top line. Great.

If I’m going to spew some cliché lines we’ve all read online, and I already have, how about George Santayana’s aphorism: “Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it”?

What Else Could They Do?

What else can Doug Weight do as his team continues to severely underperform? What else can Doug Weight try as his team looks almost certain to miss the playoffs, again?

I think he tried something interesting during the game against Montréal on Wednesday. He moved Tavares down to the second line. For about 30 seconds. For at least a shift, John Tavares played alongside Anthony Beauvilier and Jordan Eberle. And Tavares looked like a man possessed.

Something clicked. Maybe it was the shock of seeing Mathew Barzal in his place. And it wasn’t just Tavares that looked woke – at least temporarily. His linemates once they were all reconnected buzzed in the Canadiens zone and created a number of chances.

Next: Positive and Negative from Isles 2018 NHL Trade Deadline

Doug doesn’t have to drop Tavares for an entire game or even an entire period, he can put him right back after a shift or two. If Doug is ready to send a signal then let’s do it. Let the squad see just how they’ve let the captain down. Cause at this point your job -Doug- might just be on the line if results don’t start improving.

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