This past summer when Lou Lamoriello and the NY Islanders signed Hudson Fasching to a one-year deal in free agency, not many noticed. There was good reason for that as the 27-year-old Fasching was mostly an AHL player, with just 11 games of NHL experience with the Arizona Coyotes. Now he's carved out an everyday role and as a reward, the Islanders should extend the 27-year-old forward.
Due to various injuries, Fasching has taken full advantage of his playing time with the blue and orange this season. So far in 39 games, he has posted seven goals and 14 points. His style of play has been a perfect fit for the Islanders. He's been up and down the lineup and has been effective no matter his deployment, whether he's playing first-line minutes with Mathew Barzal or fourth-line minutes with Casey Cizikas, but it appears he's built the most chemistry with J.G. Pageau and the third line.
Fasching has proven he fits the Islander mold and the Islanders should be looking to keep him under contract.
Look, Fasching isn't going to blow you away on the scoresheet, although he's proven to have the knack of potting timely goals. However, he's a perfect fit in the bottom six, whether he remains on the third line or acts as a predecessor to the best fourth line in hockey. Believe it or not there could be some holes to fill in the bottom six in the near future.
Zach Parise is coming off his second one-year deal with the Isles. Parise has been terrific as an Islander but he turns 39 over the summer and he may retire after this season. Fans would love for him to come back to the island but no one knows his plans.
Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin, and Josh Bailey all will enter next season on the last year of their deals. When Clutterbuck is healthy he can be a terrific bottom-six player as everyone saw in Tuesday night's contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs this week. But the 35-year-old winger has had a lot of ailments and given the way he plays there are only so many games left in his body.
Martin is still playing his physical game and has been solid for the isles but he will be 35 at the end of next season. Finally, even with the injuries the Isles have had Bailey finds himself as the 13th forward. There is a decent chance the 33-year-old Bailey gets bought out this season, which would also create $2.3 million in cap savings for the Isles this summer.
When we look at the Islanders' forward prospect pool the two players that jump out as possibly being Islander regulars sometime next season are the Isle's top prospects William Dufour and Ruslan Iskhakov. Both are having terrific seasons in Bridgeport with Dufour posting 20 Goals and 41 Points in 60 Games and Iskhakov posting 16 Goals and 47 Points in 58 Games.
However, Dufour has only played one game this season with the blue and orange and Iskhakov has yet to make his NHL debut. Dufour recently turned 21 and Iskhakov is only 22 and Lamoriello does not believe in rushing prospects. So right now odds are they will start the season in Bridgeport next season. Hopefully, they will become Islander regulars sometime next year.
When you add all of this up between Fasching's play, his age, and the Isle's need for him given the ages of their other veteran bottom-six forwards and their contract status, along with the current state of the prospect pipeline, extending him would be a wise move.
Fasching turns 28 over the summer. A three-year deal with an annual average value between $1.5 - $1.75 million seems like a great fit for the Isles and Fasching. He plays a lot like an Islander, so don't be surprised to see Lamoriello extend Fasching this summer.