After two games, the New York Islanders are making a couple of changes to their lineup after starting 1-1 on the season.
Coming off their first loss of the year New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz confirmed that there will be lineup changes for tomorrows game. At practice, we saw some new look lines and d-pairings and it will continue to the game action on Monday.
We’ll start with the forward group. Tom Kuhnhackl is going to come in and replace Tanner Fritz who actually looked fairly good in his first two games of the year.
Ultimately, Fritz is better than Kuhnhackl but neither should be a part of the regular lineup. Regardless, this one comes as a surprise even though in the end the fourth line right winger doesn’t matter too much.
On the defensive side there’s going to be a couple of changes. First, Luca Sbisa is going to the scratch pad. Sbisa didn’t look too hot in his first two games and is deservedly going to be benched for Scott Mayfield.
Mayfield will be paired with Thomas Hickey on the third pair, a fairly competent third pair and an upgrade over Sbisa. In 47 games last year, Mayfield had 12 points while averaging 17:51 of ice time per night.
Another change is the return of the Leddy-Boychuk pairing. After two games, Barry Trotz is reuniting the former Islanders top-pair, this time on the second pair.
Nick Leddy switches back to his natural side, which I like, while Boychuk is paired with a much quicker Leddy which should help even out for his lack of speed.
Since it’s still early in the season and still early in the Barry Trotz era we will likely see lots of changes until the Islanders, and Barry, find some comfortability with the lines and defensive pairings.
Robin Lehner will also make his first start with the New York Islanders. Tune in for some matinee coverage tomorrow afternoon.