With Thomas Hickey and Jordan Eberle out, Devon Toews and Josh Ho-Sang face their first big test with the New York Islanders this year.
Barry Trotz confirmed today after the morning skate that Jordan Eberle, Thomas Hickey, and Cal Clutterbuck will not be in the lineup for the New York Islanders tonight. That means the Islanders are going to give their youth an expanded role.
For years now, we’ve heard about Josh Ho-Sang and Devon Toews and tonight we get to see what each can do in an expanded role. As a fan of both of their games, I’m excited to see what they can do in a more prominent role with the team.
Josh Ho-Sang will have to fill in for Jordan Eberle, who is day to day. For the past two practices, Ho-Sang has been skating on the top line with Anders Lee and Brock Nelson. All signs indicate that will be a line tonight against Ottawa.
Remember, last season Brock Nelson and Josh Ho-Sang actually played extremely well together early in the year before Ho-Sang was sent back to the AHL. When you add Anders Lee, a true goal scorer, on the line as well it could potentially be an explosive line.
Ho-Sang has mostly played third line minutes with Val Filppula and Leo Komarov. Now, for the first time, he will be getting top-line minutes, with a chance to let his offensive creativity flow.
As for Devon Toews, he will continue to fill in for Thomas Hickey. Hickey’s injury seems to be a bit more intense as he will not be joining the Isles on their road trip.
Toews in his NHL Debut played with Luca Sbisa. It appears he will now be playing with Scott Mayfield tonight in a much more fitting role. Luca Sbisa isn’t an NHL defenseman anymore, while Mayfield is proving to be a very solid third pairing guy.
The hope is that Toews can eventually turn into a top-four guy but for now pairing him with Mayfield who is more of a stay-at-home d-man might work out in Toews’ favor. We know Toews is quick with the puck and likes to get involved offensively.
He will be able to do that with Mayfield who can be the more defensively responsible one. Ultimately, Barry Trotz is going to be forced to be comfortable with JHS and Toews getting a bigger role, which can be a peek into the Isles future.