Group A – Brock Nelson
Group A features what should be two of the Islanders four lines next season and a number of household names. But it notably doesn’t feature 2018 Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal.
It starts with what we all thought would be the consensus second line for the Islanders. Anders Lee to the left, Brock Nelson down the middle, and Josh Bailey to the right. But judging how the rest of the group is structured this might just be the Islanders first line.
Look, Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk are likely pairing number one, even though there are some legitimate calls for Boychuk to get time on the Islanders second defensive pairing in favor of Ryan Pulock. And then Robin Lehner as the starting goalie.
Let’s just say I’m acting crazy and Lee, Nelson, Bailey is the second line. I’m not sold with Brock Nelson as a second line center. We’ve seen Brock play center before, and he wasn’t impressive. I doubt that changes even in a contract year with Brock facing unrestricted free agency.
What I do like is how it seems the Islanders are all in on Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, and Cal Clutterbuck playing together. It makes sense. It’s the only justifiable reason to bring Matt Martin back to the Islanders when you already have Ross Johnston on a four-year contract.
It wouldn’t make sense to start the season with Komarov as the fourth line left wing when Matt Martin is here. Not with the chemistry the three of them showed two years ago. You keep them together until it doesn’t work.