The New York Islanders are coming undone with injury at the worst possible time. Now with Valtteri Filppula and Jordan Eberle injured how should the Islanders lineup?
Not only did the New York Islanders lose 5-0 to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, but they also lost a number of players during the game. Valtteri Filppula left within minutes of puck drop and Cal Clutterbuck left in the second period. And even center Casey Cizikas was seen clutching his hand at the end of the second period.
Today, the New York Islanders announced that Valtteri Filppula would be out for the next four weeks with an “upper body injury”. They simultaneously announced that Jordan Eberle was day-to-day with an “upper body injury”. (PS: Cal Clutterbuck was back in practice as was Casey Cizikas.)
As the Islanders look to push for home ice advantage in the playoffs, the injuries couldn’t come at a worse time. How do the Isles lineup with Filppula and Eberle out?
Filling the Gap
The lineup that I’d run at the Bell Center in Montreal on Thursday takes advantage of Eberle’s absence to bring up Josh Ho-Sang from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Bailey should immediately step into Eberle’s spot next to Barzal. With the way that Eberle is playing right now, this change should have actually happened earlier. Ho-Sang then slots next to Brock Nelson on the Isles second line.
With the way both Nelson and Ho-Sang played last season, and with the way Brock has evolved into a good two way player under Trotz this line has the real possibility to impress.
The Islanders weakness down the middle is exposed with Filppula out of the lineup. The easy answer is to move Casey Cizikas up the lineup to play with more offensive players. Although, the impact of that move is to significantly weaken the best fourth line in hockey.
Stephen Gionta is the type of player that Trotz and Lamoriello would undoubtedly bring into the roster. He competes hard, has that tenacity they look for line four, and he’s a veteran who’s played under a Lou system.
Of course, it seems that coach Barry Trotz went with something quite different at practice on Wednesday. New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis jotted down the following lines and defensive pairings.
Putting Andrew Ladd on the top line smells like desperation. Ladd might be a vet with two cup rings, but his play of late should have him on the scratch pad, not on the top line. Having Tom Kuhnhackl playing center highlights that weakness down the middle.
Kuhnhackl should, just like Ladd, be on the scratch pad rather than taking faceoffs for the Islanders.
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There’s still time for the New York Islanders to call-up Josh Ho-Sang or anyone else to play against the Montreal Canadiens. But with the way the Isles have treated their call ups this season (having them sit for at least a game before playing) it looks like the Isles mid just stand-pat with their lineup. To their detriment in my opinion.