The NY Islanders got a bit of good news ahead of their matchup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers place tonight at 9 PM. The injury bug has bitten the Isles pretty hard and at one point were down six total players. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov was the latest to return to the lineup, backing up Ilya Sorokin in his first game back on Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks. Looking ahead to tonight, it appears Cal Clutterbuck could be returning to the lineup as well, practicing with the regulars and not remaining on the ice for extra time.
Lane Lambert didn’t give too much away. The Islanders head coach stated that Clutterbuck will be a game time decision, however, Ross Johnston remaining on the ice with the extras instead of Clutterbuck is a telling sign that the latter is ready to go. Per Newsday’s Andre Gross, his hunch (as the Islanders didn’t practice line drills this morning) is that Clutterbuck will line up on the fourth line to the right of Aatu Rätt and Matt Martin while Casey Cizikas remains with Mathew Barzal on the top line. Further indication that Clutterbuck is likely to play tonight is that the Johnston and the extras that also include Kyle Palmieri and Robin Salo, we’re seen being skated hard after the game squad left the ice from morning skate.
The good news didn’t end there, however, as Lambert divulged rookie Simon Holmstrom has resumed skating back on Long Island. The plan for Adam Pelech is to join Holmstrom soon, which indicates they both could return to the lineup in the near future.
The bad news? Oliver Wahlstrom was labeled as “out indefinitely” about a week ago and has yet to step back on the ice since sustaining an injury.
For the most part, it appears the Islanders are inching closer and closer to returning to majority health. How the roster will shake out moving forward will be interesting with Cizikas looking right at home as a top-6 winger, Hudson Fasching seemingly doing it all, Räty making quite the impact in his limited minutes on the ice, and Parker Wotherspoon fitting in like a glove on the Islanders blue line.