With an injury and illness affecting the New York Islanders lineup, two players are being given a big opportunity that they need to seize.
Injuries happen in an NHL season. And when they do, the next man up has to seize the opportunity presented. With home games finally starting to dot the New York Islanders calendar injury and illness have unfortunately crept into the team. At least one spot has opened on the team and another might be open as well.
We already know that Ryan Pulock will be out for 4-6 weeks. That was confirmed by the Islanders on Wednesday. The team's number one right-shot defenseman picked up an injury in the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier in the week, he technically finished the game but wasn't able to play against the Florida Panthers the next night. And now he won't be back until sometime close to the New Year.
The Islanders blueline has already struggled this season, so losing a top player such as Pulock certainly causes some anxiety within the fanbase.
Josh Bailey hasn't been ruled out for any specific period of time just yet, but we know that he tested positive for COVID. In accordance with the NHL's COVID protocol, Bailey stayed back in Florida. He'll have to produce two back-to-back negative tests in order to rejoin the team. These tests are taken 24 hours apart. So Bailey could very well be out at last another game or so.
Say what you will about Josh Bailey but he's still a top player for this club. He's sixth in 5on5 ice time, fifth in power-play ice time, and fifth in penalty kill time (all for forwards). The points aren't there but he's a trusted member of Trotz's team. Losing him creates a big gap.
*Ice time from NaturalStatTrick
So, who steps in to take their spots? You have to think its Noah Dobson and Kieffer Bellows. Both now have a huge opportunity ahead of them.