Who will play alongside JG Pageau
The only forward locked into the third line currently is JG Pageau. A decision will have to be made as to who plays on the top line with Horvat and Barzal, with the two likely candidates being Anders Lee and Oliver Wahlstrom. The two play very different styles, with Lee as a net-front presence and Wahlstrom more of a sniper (though he hasn't exactly lit up the scoreboard in his career). Whoever Lambert chooses to play on the top line, the other will likely drop to Pageau's wing.
After months of speculation, we now know that Zach Parise won't be present on the first day of camp, according to Lamoriello. This doesn't mean he's retired, as there's still hope of a mid-season return from one of the Isles top performers from last season.
It will take a group effort to replace what Parise provided, but Julien Gauthier, Hudson Fasching, and Simon Hölmstrom are the most anticipated to fill Parise's spot.
Hölmstrom played 50 games with the Isles last season, popping in six goals and adding three assists. He was solid in the defensive end during his NHL time but failed to get much going on the offensive end. He'll need to show more scoring prowess during camp and pre-season if he hopes to start the season on an NHL roster. Going against Hölmstrom is that he's waivers exempt - meaning the Islanders can send him to Bridgeport without any consequence.
Fasching was brought in for depth at the AHL level. After the injury bug hit the Isles, Fasching was called into action and never looked back. He found time playing on all four lines, providing unanticipated offense while being a dog on the puck in the defensive zone.
His efforts last season earned him a two-year extension with the Islanders, as he'll be unwilling to give up a position he's fought so hard for.
The biggest name brought in by the Isles this summer was Gauthier. A former first-round pick, Gauthier played with the NY Rangers and Ottawa Senators last season before inking a two-year deal to play on Long Island.
Spending most of the last three and a half years with the Rangers, Gauthier could never catch on to an everyday role on Broadway, appearing in a career-best 49 games in 2021-22. With a career-high 14 points in 47 games last year, Gauthier hopes to catch on to a more consistent role with the Isles.
Gauthier is a load to handle at 6'3", 227 lbs, and skates like a player half his size. He'll immediately become one of the team's top skaters and can become a real asset if he can unlock his offensive potential.