2. With Beauvillier’s return looming, who comes out of the lineup?
When asked about Anthony Beauvillier’s status on Monday morning, Barry Trotz vaguely hinted that Beau could be back in the Islanders lineup soon. Trotz didn’t reject the idea that Beauvillier could even play Monday night, but in the end, the Islanders rolled with the same lineup they iced Saturday night vs. Boston.
But, Beauvillier isn’t going to be out forever, and it’s possible he returns for the second half of this back-to-back in Buffalo. So, should that be the case, who would exit the Islanders lineup to make room for Beau going forward?
The seemingly obvious choice would be Leo Komarov, whose purpose in the lineup is generally reserved to being a winger on one of the Islanders penalty killing lines. Keep in mind, the Islanders penalty kill is ranked 24th league-wide following being shredded on the first of Buffalo’s two-man advantage opportunities on Monday.
So, Leo is an option to make way for Beauvillier. I think most fans would see that as a perfectly fine option. Take Leo out, slide Beau in his place, and see how a third line of Beauvillier – Pageau – Wahlstrom works out. In theory that sounds great, and I’d welcome the chance to see how that line operates, but in reality, I find it hard to believe Komarov is going to come out.
If anyone is going to sit from the third line, I’d expect it’ll be Oliver Wahlstrom.
It’s not that I think Wahlstrom has played poorly. Quite the opposite, actually, I think Wahlstrom has looked increasingly strong. He picked up a secondary assist on Brock Nelson’s power-play goal on Monday, and the shots he let rip from the point during the Islanders’ second power-play opportunity again showed off the release that scouts have swooned over Wahlstrom for since his pre-draft days.
No, it’s not that I think Wahlstrom should come out of the lineup, it’s more about what I think will happen instead.
Similarly, I don’t want Michael Dal Colle moved off the second line to facilitate Beau’s return to the lineup. I’ve liked what MDC has brought to the second line since he was included there. That second line has been better than the trio of Beau – Nelson – Bailey was to start this season, and that’s gotta count for something.