Islanders Cannot Afford Another COVID Crisis

New York Islanders Training Camp
New York Islanders Training Camp / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

After the New York Islanders recovered from a long stretch of COVID cases in the locker room, Mathew Barzal has entered Covid Protocol and will miss tonight’s game.

On November 16th, Josh Bailey was put into Covid protocol and started a string of positive cases for the team. As we know, the Islanders then placed Adam Pelech, Andy Greene, Keiffer Bellows, Zdeno Chara, and Casey Cizikas in Covid protocol.

Casey Cizikas played his first game back from Covid against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, December 11th in a 4-2 victory.

Islanders' Barzal Enters Covid Protocol

With Barzal being put into Covid protocol, it is easy to become concerned with another breakout. Recently, the Calgary Flames had three games postponed due to Covid.

As frustrating as it is to see the NHL act on a Covid crisis, the league is learning how to address this growing situation. Despite letting the Islanders play games through the outbreak with many AHL players, the precedent has been set for these situations.

The Islanders cannot afford to lose multiple starting members of the team again. Despite the slow start, the team is starting to get back to the brand of hockey we have grown accustomed to under Barry Trotz. The depth can no longer be tested.

Players from the Bridgeport Islanders have responded and filled in nicely, but this is a squad that has Stanley Cup aspirations slowly fading away.

It was always thought that Lou Lamoriello would use the remaining cap space to add a big piece, whether it be a top defenseman or sniper. It now may be time for Lamoriello to use the cap space for quality NHL depth. Otherwise, the season truly may be lost.

The list of players around the NHL entering Covid Protocol has grown rapidly over the last month.  This is the new way of the world and the NHL. Teams will continue to be affected by not only injuries but Covid spells.

With the season already progressing quickly, the time is now to prepare for a string of absences to the starting lineup. Before it is too late to pull a trigger, Lamoriello needs to sound the alarm and bring in a boost to the lineup.

The trade deadline seems too far away to wait for the opportunity to improve this team from the outside. This team has the make-up and tools to contend for a cup, but they are not a “regular” season team. Add injuries and covid to the mix and they won't even be a playoff team.