The New York Islanders are one game into their season, and when speaking to the media today, it seems like there will be lineup changes tomorrow based on Barry Trotz’s comments. Now hold on, no don’t expect Robin Salo to come in to save the blue line, instead, there’s a much more likely answer here, Matt Martin.
As Andrew Gross reported today, Matt Martin was one of the first Islanders out for practice in Florida this afternoon. As someone who’s been out of the lineup with an injury, he may be finally good to go tomorrow.
It’s not like Ross Johnston provided much to the lineup last night. In place of the injured Martin, he received just 5:50 of ice time. For reference, Casey Cizikas got 11:45 and Cal Clutterbuck received 12:21 so it’s not like you could use the excuse that the fourth line wasn’t really utilized.
In his ice time, Johnston had four hits, no shots, and was a -1 on the night. While Matt Martin is not someone who gets a ton of ice time, he is certainly much more trusted than Johnston comparatively.
In fact, there were only two games where he came in below eight minutes last year, and more often than not he was coming in at double digits. He ended up averaging 11:04 of ice time last year.
Even if it’s not Matt, which at this point all signs look like it will be him, I think I’d rather see Leo Komarov out there. At least with Leo, he can kill penalties and we know they trust him for more than six minutes of time.
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Top line Leo is one thing, but for 10 minutes on the fourth line with Cal and Casey, sure. Tomorrow, don’t be surprised if Ross Johnston is in the press box watching the game in a suit.