Before the New York Islanders finish off 2023, the team made a series of moves that could impact the makeup of their blueline for tonight's game in Pittsburgh against the Penguins and the three road games that start the 2024 portion of their schedule.
Last night, the team announced that defenseman Ryan Pulock had been moved to Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR). By doing so, per CapFriendly, the team has now raised their overall LTI salary pool to $11.9M and $9.950 in usable salary cap space remaining if there were to make an acquisition between now and the trade deadline on Mar. 8, 2024.
Defenseman Scott Mayfield, who hasn't played since Dec. 11, skated with the team on Sunday morning and was activated off of injured reserve. Head coach Lane Lambert said that Mayfield, along with center Casey Cizikas (illness), were both game-time decisions. Matt Martin, who played for the first time since Nov. 15 on Friday night, or Hudson Fasching would be scratched if Cizikas can go.
If Mayfield is back in the lineup, we'll get our first indication as to which defenseman is likely to become the odd-man out, whether that's youngster Samuel Bolduc, coming off one of his better games, or veteran Robert Bortuzzo.
Defenseman Adam Pelech was also spotted on the ice, working on his own as the team practiced special team drills. Pelech hasn't played since Nov. 24 in Ottawa with an upper-body injury, believed to be his wrist. The fact that he's traveling with the team and starting to skate is an indication that he could rejoin the lineup sometime during the road trip, which takes the Isles to Colorado, Arizona, and Las Vegas.