Scott Mayfield is set to miss his seventh straight game tonight when the Detroit Red Wings visit UBS arena.
Going down in the waning moments of the NY Islanders home opener after blocking a shot from Rasmus Dahlin, the Isles leader in blocked shots from last season has resumed skating with the team. Mayfield spent the day on the ice with his teammates once last week but has since been skating on his own. Today’s morning skate was his first back in uniform.
"That's a positive (Mayfield's return to practice), there's no question," said Lane Lambert after today's morning skate. "We've been saying he's day-to-day for a while and he has been. And to get him back into the mix a little bit, and get him accustomed to, sort of uncontrolled situations is a good thing for him."
In Mayfield’s place has been Samuel Bolduc, who started the season as the Isles’ seventh defenseman. Averaging a team-low 8:30 of ice time per game, Bolduc lacks the physicality of a Mayfield, a trait the Isles' defensive unit has been missing.
Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets was Bolduc’s best performance of the season, playing a season-high 10:15, with Lambert saying after the game, “he was better.”
While Bolduc can potentially add more offense to the mix, the Isles are missing Mayfield’s defensive prowess, especially on the penalty kill. Bolduc has logged just 15 seconds playing short-handed, less than the 46 seconds from Mayfield, who’s appeared in just one game.
There also lies the issue with the minutes Noah Dobson, Adam Pelech, Alexander Romanov, and Ryan Pulock have been playing in Mayfield's absence. The three have been playing well above their average in an attempt to make up the 21 minutes a game Mayfield averaged last season.
There's still no timetable on exactly when Mayfield will return to the lineup, but he'll undoubtedly be a welcomed addition when that time comes.