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New York Islanders Predicting Who Gets Third Center Role

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 16: Otto Koivula #48 of the New York Islanders skates against the Philadelphia Flyers during a preseason game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on September 16, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 16: Otto Koivula #48 of the New York Islanders skates against the Philadelphia Flyers during a preseason game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on September 16, 2018 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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BUFFALO, NY – DECEMBER 31: Otto Koivula #12 of Finland with the puck in the corner Kieffer Bellows #23 of United States in the third period during the IIHF World Junior Championship at KeyBank Center on December 31, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. The United States beat Finland 5-4. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

Otto Koivula

“If you have the time take it”. That’s what Lou always says, right? It’s hard to see Lou taking a different route with Otto Koivula this season.

Yes. Koivula had a great season in the AHL. With 21 goals and 46 points, Koivula tied with Sebastian Aho as the second most-productive player for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2018-19.

Not only was 2018-19 Koivula’s first season playing in North America, but it was also the former 2016 fourth-round pick’s first full season playing center. Before this season, Koivula had primarily played on the wing.

It’s impossible not to be impressed by what Otto Koivula did in the AHL last season. But I have a hard time seeing Lou Lamoriello bringing Koivula up to the NHL after a single impressive season.

Unless Koivula has an absolutely dominant training camp for the Islanders. If Koivula comes in and puts up a masterclass on how to play center he might get the spot. But if he does anything less he’s going to the AHL.

That’s not a terrible thing. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers should be pretty stacked in 2019-20. Koivula will have a real chance of putting up some incredible numbers next season.

Chance of taking the spot: 2/10

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