Can the Fourth Line Fly?
Matt Martin is so far the only trade that Lou Lamoriello has made since becoming the Islanders President and GM. He brought him back to Long Island from Toronto for AHL goalie Eamon McAdams.
With his return, the best fourth line in hockey was back together. But two years had passed since they were at the height of their powers. Could they get back to what they were?
Since Matt Martin was allowed to leave in free agency Cal Clutterbuck wasn’t anywhere near his usual self and Casey Cizikas, while productive, couldn’t stay on the ice. In Matt Martin’s case, he was a healthy scratch on most nights for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Again, could they be the same players they were two years prior?
Answer: You bet they could! On most nights the “fourth line” is the New York Islanders best line. The hard-hitting, relentless forechecking, and secondary offense is all there again two years after the fact. Barry Trotz typically starts games with the trio to set the tone.
Through 47 games Casey Cizikas has 20 points (on pace for 38), Cal Clutterbuck has eleven points (had 18 last season), and Matt Martin already has five goals on the season and is on pace for 22 points (he had 21 over the last two previous seasons).
Cizikas, Clutterbuck, Martin are exactly what they were in 2015-16. Its like they never missed a beat, like Matt Martin going to the Maple Leafs never actually happened.