The New York Islanders are in a tough spot right now. They've lost six games in a row, and are now dealing with COVID and a couple of injuries. Brock Nelson, who has been the Islanders best forward this year, left after the first period and wasn't able to return.
Assuming he's going to need some time, the Isles clearly need a forward to be called up. That's already in addition to the Ryan Pulock injury, as Pulock will miss the next four to six weeks with a lower body injury.
The COVID situation is fluid, they can get guys back or potentially lose more players as well but for this exercise, I will be going off of who was available last night to the Islanders since we haven't heard any updates today.
So that means there will be no Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Kieffer Bellows, Ross Johnston, Andy Greene, Adam Pelech, or Ryan Pulock.
Parise - Barzal - Wahlstrom
Golyshev - Beauvillier - Palmieri
Andreoff - Pageau - Panik
Martin - Cizikas - Clutterbuck
Chara - Dobson
Salo - Mayfield
Aho - Hutton
Okay, obviously with all the pieces missing, no trades, and very little internal options in the AHL I did the best that I could. The defense remains the same with Robin Salo getting a majority of the ice time.
The last two games, defense hasn't been the main culprit, it's the special teams play that has cost the Islanders and the fact that they only have two goals. Anatolii Golyshev gets the call up as he's put up solid numbers in the AHL with seven points (5 goals, 2 assists) in 13 games.
The only issue is he doesn't play center, so in order to keep some offense up top I'm trying Anthony Beauvillier back at his natural position. Is it ideal? No, but neither is having six guys out with COVID so it will have to do in the short-term.
Kyle Palmieri moves back into the top six, and I know that he and Zach Parise have combined for only one goal, which isn't good enough obviously, but the numbers back up the eye test. They're getting their chances, Zach Parise has gotten and created (see Anthony Beauvillier chance last night) opportunities for goals. Eventually, they're going to go.
Unfortunately, Andy Andreoff has to stay. He's not an NHL player but there aren't any other choices, my hope is to more so mix and match other wingers on the left side with Richard Panik and JG Pageau on that third line.
Panik picked up an assist in the two games that he's played so far. He's looked pretty solid to me so far in his short stint.
Power Play 1
Wahlstrom - Barzal -Parise
Beauvillier - Salo
Power Play 2
Palmieri - Pageau - Golyshev
Dobson - Clutterbuck
The idea behind the first power play unit is to have Wahlstrom setup on the left circle, his off wing, Mathew Barzal roaming below the net, Zach Parise as the net front with Anthony Beauvillier and Robin Salo towards the point.
The second power play unit utilizes Palmieri on the off wing, Pageau for his faceoff ability, Golyshev down low, Noah Dobson as the quarterback and Cal Clutterbuck because there aren't any options left and sometimes he can display his wrist shot when he wants to.
Again, this isn't ideal and hopefully by Wednesday we have some more healthy Islanders but if they are stuck with the same players available, I think I would look for something like this to shake up the forward group.