The New York Islanders will open their 2021-22 season in Carolina on October 14. That’s two months and eleven days away until opening night on the next season. But let’s look at what that opening night roster could look like.
Again, it’s early, and the Isles haven’t yet filed the official documentation on a number of deals, but we’ve still got a good sense of who’s “signed” and where the gaps are. So let’s take an early look at the 2021-22 Islanders.
Early look at New York Islanders 2021-22 depth chart
Line 1: Anders Lee-Mathew Barzal-Kyle Palmieri
Line 2: Anthony Beauvillier-Brock Nelson-Oliver Wahlstrom
Line 3: Zach Parise-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Josh Bailey
Line 4: Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck
Extra: Travis Zajac, Kieffer Bellows
There won’t be too many surprises here. There are four players here that are listed in bold and in italics. They’re the four players we assume Lou Lamoriello has already signed.
These lines, I feel, are balanced with left/right shot forwards on the wing and a good balance of scoring and playmaking.
You might not have Oliver Wahlstrom in your top-six, but I felt his promotion to the Isles top two lines will be invaluable if they don’t bring in a player like Vladimir Tarasenko.
Other considerations: Kieffer Bellows makes this roster. But on the scratchpad. I can see him being an extra. I don’t think the Isles will risk losing him to the waivers by sending him back to the AHL.
I don’t know what to think of Leo Komarov or Richard Paník. In this roster their in the AHL.
Pair 1: Adam Pelech-Ryan Pulock
Pair 2: Andy Greene-Noah Dobson
Pair 3: Aho/Bolduc/Salo-Scott Mayfield
Scratch: Thomas Hickey
The one big takeaway here is that the Islanders really need help on the left side. With all due respect to Andy Greene, he isn’t a top-four defenseman anymore. Now, the Isles could get around this by pairing Dobson with Pelech every other shift or so. They did just that during the playoffs last year.
But that still leaves them with what would be an inexperienced option on the third pair in one of Sebastian Aho/Samuel Bolduc/Robin Salo. I love all of their games at the lower level, but repeating what they’ve done in the AHL (Aho and Bolduc) or at the SHL level (Salo) in the NHL is a tough ask.
Notice how I didn’t list either as the starter. I’m sure Varlamov gets the nod to start the 2021 season, which is why I listed him first, but don’t assume that means he’ll get the bulk of the starts through the season. It’s going to be a 1A-1B between the two Russian netminders all season long.
(Note: I wrote this on Tuesday before I left town for a few days. So forgive me if Lou decided to make any signings after I drove off. If he did I’ll have a 2.0 depth chart up when I get back on Thursday.)