The New York Islanders may have to set up their roster for the 2021 season which could potentially contain many games in a couple of days.
Last week in an interview with KSHP Radio Las Vegas, Vegas Golden Knight owner, Bill Foley explained how the NHL season may look next year. There is one thing he said about the schedule that stuck out.
"“There’s not going to be a break. There’s going to be a lot of back-to-backs. In theory, we’re going to play four games a week to get this season done. Maybe even more — five games a week.”"
It is interesting how this statement may impact the New York Islanders roster and game strategy next season.
Our best guess is that if there are many games in a short period of time and back-to-backs as Foley explained, the roster size will be similar to that of what teams were allowed in the 2020 postseason bubble. Instead of the usual 23 man roster, we may see a 30 or 31 man roster for the season due to the apparent grueling schedule.
The one major difference between this season and the bubble may be travel. The constant travel compiled with playing many games in one of the toughest sports is a recipe for disaster for teams. Teams will have to set themselves up so their whole roster can play a part in their teams success.
Next season may be a long battle of attrition for the Islanders and the rest of the NHL. The Islanders will need to maximize their roster to give them an advantage over their opponents in a potential sprint season.
We could see the Islanders use a three goalie system with Semyon Varlamov and Illya Sorokin getting most of the workload, while also having a solid third option in the veteran Cory Schneider. Most teams will not have three solid goalies at their disposal like the Islanders. Each Isles goalie gives the Islanders a great shot to win every night.
It may also be the perfect scenario for the young players to get a chance. Many writers and fans, including myself, have been pushing to see the Islanders get younger on offense and giving a shot to their prospects. This upcoming season may provide a perfect scenario for the Islanders to integrate their young guns into the lineup.
Fitness levels of the players and the potential for injuries with travel and a massive amount of games could make this season extremely interesting. The Islanders will need every roster player to play a role in the team’s success.
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In due time we will have some clarity from the NHL on how the season will transpire including divisional set up, travel, and game schedule. It will be interesting to see how the Islanders will lineup and set up their roster for success in the new season.