The New York Islanders released their roster for the playoffs, Kieffer Bellows was left off in surprising fashion.
The Isles elected to go with 17 forwards, 10 defensemen, and three goalies (not including Ilya Sorokin) on their trip to Toronto.
Here’s the complete roster:
The likelihood of Kieffer Bellows playing was probably slim, but you could definitely make the case that having him there and having that offensive upside waiting in the wings if things go poorly isn’t an awful idea.
Ilya Sorokin isn’t included on this list and that’s because he doesn’t have to be. He doesn’t count against the 31 player limit, so taking one less player than you have to for seemingly no reason doesn’t make a ton of sense.
Leo Komarov, who got hit in the eye in phase two and needs a full face mask still, was able to make the trip for the Isles.
The only “kid” we saw in the regular season that made the roster was Otto Koivula. Koivula played in 12 games for the Isles this year and averaged 7:55 of ice time. He can play center though, something neither Oliver Wahlstrom or Kieffer Bellows can do, which I suppose gives him an edge.
I’m still fairly confident that this means Tom Kuhnhackl is going to get the nod as the third line winger to go with JG Pageau and Derick Brassard initially. How long that lasts, we’ll see, but for now, it looks like Kuhnhackl’s job to lose.
On the defensive side, Sebastian Aho and Thomas Hickey both make the trip. Neither has played in the NHL this year but they both have experience and can be relied upon if there is an injury to the Isles defensive core.
The goalies is exactly as expected as well. Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss will be the mainstays while Chris Gibson is here in case of an emergency.
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Still, the forward depth leaves a lot to be desired. God forbid there’s an injury to the top-six because there’s a real chance this forward group looks real rough if that’s the case.