New York Islanders Plan If Hickey and Nelson Are Out For Long

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Thomas Hickey
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Thomas Hickey /

Last night against the Colorado Avalanche both Brock Nelson and Thomas Hickey left the game with injuries. If both New York Islanders are unfortunately out for some time, let’s look at some contingency plans for Barry Trotz.

The New York Islanders would be facing severe blows to their roster if Brock Nelson and Thomas Hickey are out for an extended period. Both have been at the top of the team and have been fully entrusted by Barry Trotz.

Hopefully, they both escaped serious injury. They’re game time decisions  tonight but with the way they went down – Hickey from a hard fall into the boards and Nelson from an egregious kneeing penalty from Ian Cole – it’s possible they may miss some time at some point.

So, with that possibility in mind, what do you do to fill in for two of your most trusted skaters?

What I’d Like To See Happen

Lee – Barzal – Eberle

Komarov – Beauvillier – Bailey

Dal Colle – Filppula – Ho-Sang

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

Leddy – Boychuk

Pelech – Pulock

Toews – Mayfield

I’ve been hoping for it for some time, but I’d love to see Anthony Beauvillier get a shot at the center position he plays naturally. The Isles lack center depth in the AHL, so the most clear path is to put Beau there and bring in a winger.

And Josh Bailey makes everyone’s job easier, so keeping them paired up will only ease Beau’s transition.

And since Ho-Sang is up on the big club and the team would potentially need to bring up another player to fill out the roster (assuming Ladd and Kuhnhackl are both still out for a while), then why not Michael Dal Colle to play opposite Josh Ho-Sang?

They have had considerable success playing together in the AHL, and by centering them with Filppula it brings a veteran defensive presence to keep them grounded.

Toews is the one that we’ve all been clamoring for on defense (though I’d be just fine with Aho), and pairing him with Mayfield would allow him to take on an offensive role with the more defensively-responsible partner.

What I Expect To See Happen

The Gionta and Sbisa show.

The Gionta move wouldn’t happen immediately as the Isles are on the road and play tonight (and Gionta is serving a suspension), but it feels in line with the Trotz plan.

A guy like Komarov also has a history at center, so that could work too, but I think Barry Trotz goes with a more reliable fill-in.

Beauvillier – Barzal – Bailey

Lee – Filppula – Eberle

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

Johnston – Gionta – Komarov

Leddy – Boychuk

Sbisa – Pulock

Pelech – Mayfield

The problem with calling up a guy like Gionta is that he would interrupt the flow of the fourth line that just all but shut down the NHL’s top line last night, so you’d be basically promoting the fourth line to the third line.

The Gionta line becomes a bit of a mishmash, but it does keep the scoring potential in the top six.

To be fair, I think these lines make sense too. They are all known and proven players who play a tough defensive style. It’s just not the stuff dreams are made of.

Isles Shut Down NHL's Top Line. Next

We won’t have to wait very long to find out what Barry Trotz decides, and in a perfect world both Hickey and Nelson escaped injury and are ready to go this week. But if they can’t go for an extended period, expect something on the safe side for the line combinations as we look ahead.