The New York Islanders submitted their roster, well most of it, yesterday and we had some of our questions answered as to who is ending up where. Of course, because it’s Lou Lamoriello, there are still some loose ends but Mitch Anderson went through those and explained why that is.
Today, we’re going to look at the two players who will start the year on IR, Matt Martin, and Semyon Varlamov.
The Islanders have taken the recovery of Matt Martin pretty slow during training camp and that’s completely okay with me. They have a ton of options in the bottom six and right now, they’re going with a near carbon copy in Ross Johnston.
Johnston is about as close to the 27-year-old version of Matt Martin as you could get and he will be joining Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck on the fourth line to start the season. Johnston played just 12 games last year and had one assist. Johnston has 14 career NHL fights to his name with the Islanders and you will hardly notice a difference on the fourth line.
Obviously, losing a goalie who had a .929 save percentage in the regular season last year is not what anyone wants. But, if there’s a team that can survive losing their starter for a little bit it’s the Islanders.
Ilya Sorokin proved last year that he is more than capable of holding down the fort for New York. In the regular season, he posted a .918 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average in the regular season. Arguably his most impressive accomplishment was what he did in the playoffs in relief.
When called upon in his first NHL playoff action, he finished with a .922 save percentage and a 2.79 goals against average. There’s no timetable for Varlamov’s return but with Sorokin playing the way that he has I’m more than comfortable riding him out for a little bit.
I will say that I am somewhat surprised that Jakub Skarek got the nod on the roster over Cory Schneider. I guess they want that extra $14,167 against the cap to get to that cap ceiling.