As the All-Star Break ends, the New York Islanders made a roster move yesterday. Versatile forward, Austin Czarnik, was placed on waivers. Previously injured, Czarnik was set to return to play.
The move was a head-scratcher, it wasn't something fans expected. It is never a bad thing to have depth, especially at center.
Czarnik was able to get some important minutes during the Covid outbreak and injuries to the starting group. Czarnik played eleven games with two goals and three helpers. Additionally, Czarnik was a plus-five in those eleven contests.
New York Islanders: Seattle Kraken Strike Again
Yesterday, the Seattle Kraken claimed Czarnik, meaning he will head West. Czarnik will join fellow former Islander and All-Star, Jordan Eberle.
The expansion Kraken came into UBS Arena before the All-Star break and made history with their victory over the Islanders. The shutout victory was the first in the franchise history and the end to a disappointing first half for the Islanders.
Now the Kraken have taken Czarnik for nothing to begin the second half of the season.
The 29-year-old forward signed a two-year contract with the Islanders in 2020 and has a cap hit of $725,000. In the final year of his deal, Czarnik appeared to be making an impression on the Islanders coaching staff and management.
The Islanders have a dilemma when all the forwards are healthy. Czarnik and Ross Johnston must pass through waivers to go to Bridgeport and risk being claimed. The Islanders obviously chose to keep Johnston from being made available.
Barry Trotz and the coaching staff have leaned on the veterans that have had much success over the last few seasons. The veterans naturally get the benefit of the doubt when making a mistake, but the time has come for the better players to be rewarded.
Players like Czarnik, Keiffer Bellows, and Oliver Wahlstrom have continued to show signs of life for this veteran squad, just to be benched, scratched, or put on waivers. If this team is going to succeed, the lineup will need the players that are at the top of their games.