He was one of the best stories of the season for the NY Islanders in 2022-23, but Hudson Fasching has been a healthy scratch the last four games, and his position as an everyday player looks to be in jeopardy.
Making his debut with the Isles out of necessity on Dec. 4 against the Chicago Blackhawks, Fasching never looked back to the AHL, remaining with the team for the remainder of the season. In 49 games, Fasching popped for 19 points, including ten goals. He showed versatility playing up and down the lineup from the first line down to the fourth.
Fasching seemed to be most comfortable playing with the fourth line, but with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck now healthy, it isn't easy to knock one of those guys from a role they've been playing for years.
Starting this season on a line with JG Pageau and Anders Lee, they were the one trio that seemed to struggle out of the gate. Both Lee and Fasching have since been separated from Pageau, with Lee moving to the top line and Fasching watching from a suite.
"Obviously, you want to be out there. You want to be helping your team, but you try to have a positive attitude about it," Fasching told Stefan Rosner of The Hockey News. "There's no reason to get down on yourself. You want to try and maintain your confidence so when you get another opportunity, you feel good about yourself and feel good about your game."
Fasching signed a two-year, one-way contract with the Isles on May 1, carrying a cap hit of $775k. After his performance last year and earning a starting role out of training camp this year, Fasching looked to be assuming a similar role with the team but currently sits as one of the odd men out along with Julien Gauthier.
Though he managed to finish last season with double digits in the goal column, it was always going to be tough having a repeat season in terms of production. Fasching is a grind-it-out type of player who fits in best alongside Cizikas.
He'll be used to give Martin and Clutterbuck nights off here and there, but the way the identity line has been playing, it's been hard to find a night off for the two.
Fasching will get his opportunity once again at some point this season, but how far can he run with it this time around?