New York Islanders Internal 4th Center Options
By Matt O'Leary
The New York Islanders are down a center after losing Val Filppula in free agency. Here are a couple of options the team could use to replace him.
With Val Filppula headed to Detroit, it seems like an obvious choice to bump Casey Cizikas up to the third line after his breakout season. We here at Eyes on Isles have been huge advocates for this move for a long time, and we hope the New York Islanders oblige.
Assuming that the top three centers are Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, and Casey Cizikas the Isles need to find someone to fill that 4C role. Internally, it looks like Tanner Fritz and Leo Komarov are the best options for that.
Komarov can play any of the three forward positions and even spent time filling in at center last year. With three years left on his deal at $3 million per, it seems likely that he’s going to be in the lineup on a nightly basis.
If you want to give others like Michael Dal Colle or Josh Ho-Sang opportunities you have to then bump Komarov down to the fourth line. Also, Leo playing 14 minutes a night is way too much, so make him the 4C and use the Martin – Komarov – Clutterbuck line like a traditional fourth line.
If for whatever reason the Isles insist on keeping Komarov on that third line, they could use Tanner Fritz as the 4C. He only played eight games last year, but in 2017-2018 he showed signs of being semi-productive in a bottom-six role.
If Fritz is your 4C at just $700,000 you can get by with it while also getting a team-friendly cap hit.
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