As injuries mount for the New York Islanders, the team called up top prospect Aatu Räty and D Parker Wotherspoon from loan (Bridgeport). Kyle Palmieri, who has missed 13 of the last 14 games, and goaltender Semyon Varlamov were placed on injured reserve (IR), retroactive to Dec. 16 and Dec. 17, respectively.
Raty is a center, and the Islanders might be down one tonight after Casey Cizikas left last night's game against the New York Rangers at 13:46 of the second with an undisclosed injury. There was no update provided from Lane Lambert after the game putting Zeeker’s status for tonight’s game in doubt against the Florida Panthers.
If Cizikas does play and remains centering the fourth line, it's plausible that either Brock Nelson or Mathew Barzal would be moved to the wing. Otherwise, we'll have to wait for warm-ups to see if Raty, viewed as a capable two-way forward, would slide in Cizikas spot on the fourth line.
The Islanders have been traveling with only six defensemen on the roster since the injury to Adam Pelech, but with Robin Salo struggling, Wotherspoon is being brought up to either create competition or be given an opportunity as the sixth defenseman. Salo played only 7:37 against the Rangers and did not play after being on the ice for Barclay Goodrow's tying goal in the third period.
A 2020 2nd-round pick (52nd overall), Raty has 5 goals and 7 assists in 23 games with Bridgeport this season. The 25-year-old Wotherspoon was a 4th-round pick in 2015 and has one goal and 11 assists in 27 games this season.
An extended absence for Varlamov would get tricky for the Islanders, who were reluctant to play Cory Schneider when Varlamov missed time to start the season, but he has played well in Bridgeport. Varlamov has been very solid this year, holding an 8-3-1 in 12 appearances with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
As for Palmieri, he returned to the lineup against the Arizona Coyotes after missing ten games but now finds himself back on IR. The 31-year-old has six goals and three assists in 21 games.