3 NY Islanders forward line combinations we could see in 2022-23

Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders
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Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee
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  1. Anders Lee - Mathew Barzal - Kyle Palmieri
  2. Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson - Josh Bailey
  3. Zach Parise - J.G. Pageau - Oliver Wahlstrom
  4. Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

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To start the 2021-22 season, this is the lineup Trotz rolled out for the first game of the regular season. At one point in time, the majority of this roster was not easy to play against. It did not turn out that way last season, despite what the circumstances might have been. There's an argument to be made that this lineup can still be effective when not being forced to start a season on one of the longer road trips in NHL history and without the majority of the NHL roster due to Covid complications and injuries.

Of course, injuries you can't help, but the Covid protocols have changed and the likelihood that players will miss as much time as they used to has also changed. So what do the Islanders have in this kind of lineup?

Lee and Palmieri may not be the speediest players to pair with Barzal, but they both know how to fill the net. Both are former 30-goal scorers and Lee even hit 40 goals in the 2017-18 season. In the second half of last year, Lee admitted it took him some time, but he finally was starting to feel more comfortable with his knee that was surgically repaired the season before.

"There’s lingering things that come with it. The strength is there. The confidence is there. It’s one of those things that’s not going to feel like it’s completely gone for a little bit and that’s fine. I knew that going into it. It’s just one that maybe took me a little bit longer than I had worked for or hoped for."

Anders Lee

Palmieri went 29 games before scoring his second (and third) goal of the season, a metric that's never happened before in his career. In that span, his shooting percentage was a meek 1.6%, far less than his career 12.2 S%. He finally started to find the net more consistently from February to the end of the season potting 14 goals in 40 games, proving he hadn't lost his touch but rather was in a bit of a rut like the rest of the team. A trio of Lee, Barzal, and Palmieri has the potential to score a lot of goals so long as Barzal's wingers can put themselves in the right position to score, and maybe raise their IQs to know what the shifty, sometimes unpredictable Barzal is going to do.

Nelson, Beauvillier, and Bailey were once such a force as a unit that they were given the nickname "Killer B's." In the 2020-21 playoffs, the trio led the Islanders in goals scored with a combined 11 goals just five goals short of Vegas Golden Knights trip Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, and Rielly Smith who scored the most goals that offseason.

If those three could find their mojo again, the Islanders would have one of the better second lines in the NHL. Nelson is coming off a 37-goal performance, but Beauvillier and Bailey had disappointing seasons, it's hoping for a lot, but those three have chemistry.

Keeping the fourth line together is likely. Lamoriello and Lambert are banking on one of the longest summers in recent history for the Islanders spelling a well-rested and recovered Martin, Cizikas, and Clutterbuck, hoping for the return of the "best fourth line in hockey," the same line that wreaked havoc in the playoffs, bringing fans to their seats, and banged bodies wearing down the opponent.

That leaves the third line. Parise not only was the only Islander to play all 82 games last season, but in terms of effort, he was one of the best Islanders on the ice every night. He's a good mentor for Wahlstrom to model his game after, receiving much criticism from Trotz regarding his game away from the puck. Pageau's ability to be good at everything gives him the ability to goal scorers such as Parise and Wahlstrom, while also being able to make up for any defensive deficits you could see from Wahlstrom.