The New York Islanders offense has struggled this season and the defense has been shaky at best. Being without Mathew Barzal certainly doesn't help the struggling offense, even with Barzal this team has looked lost. A veteran team looking for speed and spark could not make up for the top-line center’s absence.
Barry Trotz set a precedent with the healthy scratching of Anthony Beauvillier on Saturday night. One of the under performing regulars took a seat and more need to join.
Unfortunately for the roster, the list of players in need of a taking a seat is as large as the growing list of Covid cases in the NHL. Josh Bailey, Kyle Palmeri, Zdeno Chara and Scott Mayfield have been on the brink all season. Now is the time to send the message beyond Beauvillier.
New York Islanders: Call up Richard Panik
While the team struggled through Covid related absences, the youngsters had a chance to step into the starting lineup. Many impressed, but one veteran from the Bridgeport Islanders stood out. Off-season acquisition, Richard Panik too full advantage of his time with the big club.
Acquired from the Detroit Red Wings in the deal that sent top four defenseman, Nick Leddy, to the motor city. Panik has always been a solid depth forward in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Washington Capitals, and Red Wings.
In fact, Panik had a 22-goal season with Chicago and a 14-goal season in the desert. There was no doubt what the Islanders were receiving in Panik.
Still, this was a very deep lineup that Panik would need to crack to play. With no surprise, Panik broke camp in the AHL despite having a good pre-season. Covid gave him the opportunity to play 4 games.
Panik showed the coaching staff that he is still an NHL player and brought the much-needed energy in his brief stint. Grabbing a helper in the 4 games was the reward for his hard work in all areas of the ice.
The current roster has gotten away from what made them contenders. The Islanders never possessed a run and gun style that beat you with skill. The team handled each aspect of the game consistently and players need to take a step back and re-learn.
Panik is a player with versatility and discipline. The prototypical Trotz type player, Panik will simplify the game and give some desired energy to this group.
Now is the time to continue to set an example until this team returns to the style that made them successful.