The battle for the sixth spot on the NY Islanders blue line continues into November with two Islander defenseman vying to stay in the lineup. For now, Sebastian Aho has taken the reigns to Scott Mayfield's left having dressed in all eight of the Islanders last eight games. Robin Salo started the year with the sixth spot in hand, however, since Aho dressed for the first time on October 22nd against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Salo has watched from the press box. As a result, the Islanders loaned Salo to AHL Bridgeport early Sunday morning.
In four NHL games this season, Salo tallied two goals, both of which came in a contest against the Anaheim Ducks, a 7-1 victory for the Islanders. The game against the Ducks was Salo's strongest outting. However, the game before and the two after didn't exactly impress head coach Lane Lambert which opened the door for Aho to take control of the position.
The Islanders play their next three of four games at home and the one away game is at Madison Square Garden against the NY Rangers. They'll be close to home and don't anticipate needing a seventh defenseman along the way, so presumablly the Islanders want Salo to keep fresh legs. He'll continue to work with the B-Isles with the chance he'll return to the varsity Islanders sooner rather than later.
Lambert was asked about what he's seen from Salo in practices and morning skates since he hasn't seen game action in a little while:
"More of the same with him. We’re playing well, and Aho’s playing well. It’s just a matter of biding time…Stay in shape, stay ready, just as everybody else does."- Lane Lambert
Sending him to Bridgeport is certainly one way to allow him to stay in game form, in shape, and ready. Lambert has been pleased with Aho's play and the Islanders have won five of their last six games, so if it's not broken, don't fix it.
The AHL Islanders play the Providence Bruins on Sunday at 3 PM. Salo may or may not be in the lineup depending on how soon a decision was made to loan him. Regardless, the expectation is he'll receive elevated minutes with the B-Isles before he's once again recalled to the varsity squad, likely when the Islanders set out for their next road trip when they take on the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 14th.