After having a few days of shutdown, the New York Islanders were back at practice today and good news, some players are out of COVID protocol. According to Peter Schwartz who attended practice, Anders Lee, Adam Pelech, Andy Greene, and Ross Johnston were back. That also includes Josh Bailey who practiced before the shutdown.
First and foremost, the fact that those four are healthy and good to go is a good sign. It also helps when you're getting back your captain and first line winger, a top-pair defensemen, and another defensemen who you rely on with a youngster in Andy Greene.
We'll soon find out who gets sent down but these four additions are great for the Islanders who looked like a shell of themselves for the last week and a half. The Islanders were cleared to be back in action on Thursday as well.
This would be the first time they played since Friday, a 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh. I'd imagine the lines and pairings will likely look something like this:
Lee - Barzal - Bailey
Beauvillier - Pageau - Palmieri
Parise - Koviula - Wahlstrom
Martin - Clutterbuck
Pelech - Dobson
Salo - Mayfield
Greene - Hutton/Aho
It's still not perfect, and in all likelihood the Islanders will be forced to roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen but it is a big step in the right direction. Think about it, this is a team that has five goals in the last seven games. The addition of Anders Lee and Josh Bailey should at a minimum help with that.
Plus, Adam Pelech will be able to help out in the letting goals in area which has been problematic with the replacement Islanders playing a major role over the last four games or so. So far this year, San Jose is 19th in goals for and 12th in goals against. They've had an okay, 12-9-1 start to their season this year and are in fourth place in the Pacific Division.
If the Islanders want to claw out from the bottom of their division, a win over the Sharks is where to start.