3 Takeaways from the NY Islanders 2023-24 Season

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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It’s time to break up the Identity Line

It’s been a hell of a ride for the Islanders fourth line, once deemed to be the best fourth line in hockey. 

Playing the majority of their time together for three seasons from 2013-2016 and again between 2018 and now when the Islanders re-acquired Matt Martin from the Toronto Maple Leafs, it appears age and the game's speed have caught up to the three-some.

Martin and Cal Clutterbuck will see their contracts expire come July 1, with their futures not only with the Islanders but in the NHL up in the air.

Clutterbuck has expressed his desire to continue playing despite his history of injuries over the last few seasons. This season was the first of his career he’s appeared in all 82 games.

“If my season hadn’t gone well this year, if I had another major injury, maybe I would have something to think about,” said Clutterbuck last month according to Ethan Sears of the New York Post. “But in my mind, I think I’m still capable. And it’s another one of those things where I honestly haven’t given it that much thought. It’s something that’ll work itself out.”

Martin is 34 years old and his game has diminished as of late. He has a lot of wear and tear on his body due to the physical nature of his game, trailing only Clutterbuck on the all-time hits list. He missed the final two games of the playoffs due to a lower-body injury, and if he were to call it a career, it would be due to his body not allowing him to go any further. 

If Martin hangs up his skates this off-season, he’d likely remain in the organization in some capacity similar to Johnny Boychuk and Denis Seidenberg

Casey Cizikas still has three years remaining on his contract and continues to be a valuable part of the lineup. He’s 33 years old but still has the legs and the skill to contribute every night.

Moved to the wing down the stretch of the season, he’s shown his versatility as a critical cog alongside Mat Barzal and Bo Horvat. The emergence of Kyle MacLean has made Cizikas’ role on the fourth line expendable, as he can be deployed in other positions moving forward.