The NY Islanders have decided to place Casey Cizikas, who was injured on January 9, on IR. With the available roster spot, they've recalled center Kyle MacLean from the Bridgeport Islanders.
The Isles elected to replace their fourth-line center by using the depth from within the roster for the last four games instead of recalling a center from their AHL affiliate. After filling Cizikas' spot with JG Pageau and Hudson Fasching, with neither resulting in much success, Lou Lamoriello has decided that reinforcements were needed, with MacLean earning the promotion.
Son of Islanders Assistant Coach John MacLean, Kyle was undrafted out of the OHL, serving as captain of the Oshawa Generals for two seasons. He's spent the last three-plus seasons in Bridgeport, with this being his first call-up to the NHL.
At 6'1" 190 lbs, MacLean fills the void left by Cizikas while adding similar offensive production, although in a lower league. MacLean is fourth on the B-islanders in points this season with 19 (6 goals, 13 assists).
Expected to make his NHL debut on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, MacLean will be expected to fill the role of Cizikas, who's been the driving force behind the Islanders' fourth line for the last 13 years.
“I’m comfortable with that [fourth-line role],” MacLean said, according to Ethan Sears of the NY Post at training camp. “Down in Bridgeport, I [killed penalties] a lot. I was relied on to be a good two-way forward. Up here the message is the same. Keep trying to be solid defensively, up and down the ice. Penalty kill, it’s a part of my game I need to be good at. Up here I embrace it, just as I would down there.”
Assistance on the penalty kill is something the Islanders could undoubtedly use, and with Cizikas being a mainstay on the PK, it's just another void MacLean will look to fill.
Friday will surely be an emotional night for Kyle and John, as his father will watch his son pull on an NHL sweater for the first time from the best seats in the house.