With Valtteri Filppula and perhaps Jordan Eberle out of the lineup, the New York Islanders roster depth will be put to the test against the Montreal Canadiens.
Yesterday, the New York Islanders announced that Valtteri Filppula was going to be out for four weeks and that Jordan Eberle was day-to-day. Both with upper body injuries.
That means the Islanders need to do some lineup juggling to fill the gaps left by both Filppula and Eberle. To fill the gaps, the Islanders have called up Tanner Fritz. That means the Islanders will likely shuffle around some of their already struggling pieces as they push towards the postseason.
With nine games left, the first test of the Islanders roster depth is tonight against the Montreal Canadiens on the road.
Who knows exactly how the New York Islanders will lineup against the Canadiens tonight. From practice yesterday though, it seems that Andrew Ladd is stepping up to the top line and Tom Kuhnhackl will play third line center.
That was of course before the Islanders called up Tanner Fritz from the AHL.
What’s clear is that even with a potential spot in the top six (Eberle was on the ice with the team for the pre-game morning skate), the Islanders are going to use the depth they already have in the NHL before plucking someone (like Josh Ho-Sang) from the AHL.
It’s a bold strategy, one that is full of possible pitfalls and perils. Even when completely healthy, the Islanders haven’t been able to bring the offense. It’s hard to see them doing so now with a depleted lineup.
The Islanders could absolutely use someone (like Ho-Sang) to disrupt their rhythm offensively and breath some new life into the attack. But instead, the Isles will rely on Ladd, Fritz, and Kuhnhackl to help fill the gaps left by Eberle and Filppula.
Last time around, the New York Islanders were able to pull out a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens thanks to some late game heroics from Mathew Barzal. They’re going to need that again.
A win for the Canadiens (and a Columbus loss against the Oilers in regulation) puts them into the second wildcard spot in the east. At home, with a loud Bell Center, the Canadiens will be buzzing.