The NHL holiday break has come and gone and the NY Islanders are back in game action tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins when play resumes around the league.
The Islanders have been dealing with a number of injuries in the month of December. Those injuries include their No.1 defenseman Adam Pelech, 1B goaltender Semyon Varlamov, forwards Kyle Palmieri and Cal Clutterbuck, and rookie Simon Holmstrom who appeared to take a nasty bump in the Isles last game before the break.
Casey Cizikas and Brock Nelson were also questionable to return post-holiday, however, they joined the Islanders for morning skate on Tuesday morning, taking line rushes that indicate they'll be part of Lane Lambert's lineup when the puck drops at 7:30 eastern time. Nelson will take his usual spot back as the Islanders' second-line center, while Cizimas will fill in on third-line right wing next to J.G. Pageau with Holmstrom remaining unavailable.
Speaking of Holmstrom, he took a nasty knee-on-knee collision with Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett on Dec.23rd. Lambert has not disclosed how severe the injury is, however, he remains out of the lineup on Tuesday and has not resumed skating. The good news is that in a holiday Instagram post by Bridgeport Islanders teammate Grant Hutton, Holmstrom spent the holidays with Hutton and his family and didn't appear to be wearing any brace or support for his knee which could be good news that the injury isn't as bad as it might have appeared.
Include Holmstrom in the group of skaters that have not resumed skating yet which also include Pelech and Varlamov. That trio of players remains out with undisclosed timetables. Palmieri and Clutterbuck each appear closer to returning than the former as they've resumed on-ice activities. Regardless, all skaters aforementioned are considered "day-to-day."
With the plethora of injuries staking up, Aatu Räty (who scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game last week) remains in the lineup as the fourth-line center. Hudson Fasching (who has also made a name for himself in his short stint) remains on Räty's right. On the blue line, Parker Wotherspoon continues to skate with Ryan Pulock and in the crease, Cory Schnieder remains the backup to Ilya Sorokin.