Usually, the argument for putting Ross Johnston in the lineup is for his physicality, but with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck in the game, there’s no need for his services. Plus, he hasn’t even been that physical.
He has 11 hits in three games, averaging under four hits a game with 16 penalty minutes, and is a -2. The Islanders have to have him in the lineup for what exactly?
I’m not saying his role is completely useless, it’s just redundant to what the team is doing with Matt Martin already. So at this point, why not just replace him in the lineup?
In the last six periods, the Islanders have just one goal to their name and it’s courtesy of JG Pageau. Instead of letting Ross skate around and throw the body a handful of times for seven minutes a night, can the Islanders go a more offensive route?
To me, Oliver Wahlstrom would make the most sense. Last year in the AHL, he had 22 points and 10 goals in 45 games. He did play nine NHL games last year in a very limited role but in his first three games did show some upside getting six shots on net.
If you let Wahlstrom play alongside JG Pageau and Kieffer Bellows on line three you really don’t think that can help the offense out at all. Even on the power play too.
The Islanders are 0-for-9 in the last two games on the man advantage and don’t have someone who Is a pure shooter on the power play. Enter Oliver Wahlstrom who happened to do this while playing over in Sweeden:
In 10 games with AIK, he had eight points (4 goals, 4 assists). As a former first-round draft pick just three years ago, his ceiling as a scorer is significantly higher than the likes of Ross Johnston, Leo Komarov or Michael Dal Colle when healthy.
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At this point, the most logical step seems to be sitting Johnston for Wahlstrom. They don’t need him in the lineup every night.