3 Lineup Changes for the NY Islanders to Consider as the Season Slips Away

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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The NY Islanders' six-game winning streak is long gone, as they now try to find a way to snap their four-game losing streak. The Isles look like a completely different team over the last week, scoring only five goals during their current skid while allowing 16.

The firey Patrick Roy seems as if he's at the breaking point with his team, as the big-game goaltender is having trouble comprehending how his team has failed to show up during big moments like the entire roster did aside from Bo Horvat during the Islanders blowout loss to the NY Rangers.

“I saw a team that played better than us today,” Roy said. “The Rangers, they managed the puck much better than what we did. They’re very fast in transition. I thought they had more energy than us for some reason."

Aside from the lackluster performances on the ice, the fanbase is seemingly losing hope, as all associated with the franchise need the team to turn things around with only 15 games remaining and two points out of playoff position.

Roy's options within his roster are limited, but here are three lineup changes that can help light a spark in the season's final push.

Keep Barzal, Horvat, and Nelson together

This is putting all your eggs into one basket, but the Islanders don't have many eggs to play with.

The three top forwards on the team have shown some incredible chemistry while playing together, catapulting the Isles to their best run of the season.

But that well has since dried up. During the team's current rough patch, Mat Barzal and Brock Nelson have failed to find the back of the net, recording one and two assists, respectively. Bo Horvat scored both goals on Sunday against the Rangers but seemed to be missing his dynamic wingers as they were split up the last two games.

Playing these three at the top of the lineup leaves the other three lines without much firepower, including having to play JG Pageau as the team's second-line center - a player who only has 27 points on the season.

It's not much of a lineup change but it's worked for the team in the past, and with those three being as good as they are, they should be able to find that scoring touch again.

Bortuzzo in for Aho

This is in no way a besmirching of Sebastian Aho, who has been a warrior for the Islanders all season while thrown into a difficult circumstance playing on the right side as a left-handed defenseman for most of the season. But while Aho has proven he's an NHL-caliber defenseman, he's physically limited on top of playing on his off-side.

Robert Bortuzzo was brought in by Lou Lamoriello early this season from the St. Louis Blues for a seventh-round pick to serve as a depth defenseman. He suffered a lower-body injury on Jan. 2 against the Colorado Avalanche and has been missing from the lineup ever since. During his limited time on Long Island, the Isles are 6-2-3 with Botuzzo in the lineup.

Bortuzzo isn't going to put goals up on the board for the Isles, but he's a veteran presence in the lineup as the only player on the roster with a s Stanley Cup ring, along with the fact that he's 6'4" and would be playing on his natural right side.

With Aho's size, he struggles to move opponents from the front of the net. But with Bortuzzo, he adds a physical element to the blue line that's been missing without himself or Scott Mayfield in the lineup.

Waive Wahlstrom and call-up Maggio

This is more of a desperation move that Lamoriello likely won't make, but it could give the Islanders a spark when they need it the most.

Oliver Wahlstrom has played himself out of the lineup despite the team waiving Julien Gauthier to give the former first-round pick a long run of games. His play wasn't enough to keep him in the lineup, as he's been a health scratch for nearly a month, playing his last game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 24.

Wahlstrom will be an RFA at the end of the season, and a change of scenery seems to be the best option for the 23-year-old to find his place in the NHL. At this point, Wahlstrom has little trade value in the off-season, as he'd likely fetch a fourth or fifth-round pick. Though the Islanders desperately need prospects, moving on from Wahlstrom now would give them a look at one of their top prospects.

Matthew Maggio has found his game with the Bridgeport Islanders of the AHL. Though scoreless in his last five, the former fifth-round pick recently put together a stretch of 13 points (9 G, 4 A) in 15 games.

Maggio could slot in on the second or third line wing, moving Matt Martin out of the lineup and sliding Simon Holmstrom down the fourth line.

It's not an ideal situation, but the Islanders are running out of time before the clock strikes midnight on yet another season.