Barry Trotz warned us yesterday that this might happen. The New York Islanders head coach was asked after practice if both Anthony Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom, who were both activated off COVID protocol yesterday, would play today against the Oilers.
Trotz's answer was about as direct as a coach will ever get when discussing his lineup before a game.
Today we found out that Beauvillier was the one who was "more so" while Wahlstrom was the "other". Beauvilllier lined up on the second line in the right-wing spot with Bellows on the left and Pageau in the middle.
New York Islanders lineup against Edmonton Oilers
Prior to hitting the NHL's COVID protocol list, Wahlstrom was one of the Islanders best players producing six points (all assists) in the five games leading up to the shootout loss to Vegas before the extended holiday break.
So this isn't Barry Trotz scratching a player for any other reason than not being totally ready for puck drop. If Wahlstrom was 100% ready to go Trotz would have put him back in the lineup. Of this, there is no question.
Curiously enough, with Anthony Beauvillier back in Michael Dal Colle comes out and Ross Johnston stays in. We know that Barry Trotz likes Ross Johnston a lot, but to play both Johnston and Matt Martin is certainly a look.
Dal Colle is a better player than Ross Johnston and a better two-way player, at least when it comes to keeping scoring chances low. Which sounds like the type of player you'd want to see against a team, like the Oilers, who create a number of opportunities. It's clear Barry wants to play a heavy game against the skilled Edmonton Oilers.
We'll see if it works this afternoon against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl who've combined for an insane 103 points in 31 games (3.32 points per game). Ridiculous.