The New York Islanders fourth line has remained stable for majority of the last eight seasons. The trio of Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck have eaten big minutes together since 2014. Martin signed with Toronto in 2016 but reunited with his line-mates in 2018.
With the trade deadline of March 21 rapidly approaching and the Isles being far out of a playoff spot, Cal Clutterbuck has been rumored to be a hot commodity for a team looking to add grit down the stretch. Matt Martin's play has declined with his age this season, so he might not be in the lineup as much anymore. It looks like the once hard-hitting, energizing "identity line" will soon be no more.
Casey Cizikas seems to be the lone member of the line with long-term security on his lineup spot. He would be able to center new wingers as he is the most skilled player of the current three.
What Could a New Potential Islanders Fourth Line Look Like?
The Islanders have many options of players who could create a successful fourth line. Players such as Otto Koivula, Ross Johnston, Austin Czarnik, and Zach Parise have all filled a role on the line at some point this season.
The Isles need to bring back an "identity line" that sets the tone and brings energy. To do this, they should have a new fourth line consisting of Casey Cizikas, Ross Johnston, and Austin Czarnik.
The potential trio would bring together the perfect combination of grit, speed, effort, and even some goal-scoring abilities. Johnston would be a great successor to Martin, with his physical play. Martin has lost a step and Johnston is a younger faster player, who can currently hit harder.
Austin Czarnik was taken off waivers by Seattle from the Islanders on February 8th and was reclaimed by New York on March 6th. Isles fans fell in love with his playstyle even with a limited amount of games played.
Cizikas is a player we all know who can be plugged into any line and have success. His incredible face-off ability and defensive awareness make him the perfect man to continue centering the Isles fourth line.
Changes are imminent for the Islanders. This month's trade deadline may be the start of a new-look lineup, starting with the fourth line.