Islanders: Line Changes

We’re five games into the NHL season, and it’s fair to say that the Islanders do look better than many, including myself, were expecting. I believe that if Capuano wants them to make a serious push for a playoff spot, however, the lines need to be shuffled slightly. The Isles cannot afford to blow games with dead weight taking up a roster spot. I also believe the Isles need to make these key changes now so that they find some consistency by the middle of this shortened season.

With Visnovsky coming to Long Island, and with the return of Bailey, I would advocate a few changes. Although I was a firm believe that Niederreiter still could probably use some more time in the AHL, he is simply too good right now to be down there. His size and speed, along with his goal scoring ability, would be much better on the first line, in my opinion.

Here is my lineup:

Moulson – Tavares – Niederreiter
Grabner – Aucoin – Boyes
Bailey – Nielsen – Okposo
Martin – Cizikas – Ullstrom

Scratches (in order): Joenssuu, Boulton, Reasoner

Streit – Visnovsky
Hamonic – MacDonald
Carkner – Strait

Scratches (in order): Hickey, Finley, Martinek

I believe that this balances out all three lines better, including leaving no line as a real defensive liability. Furthermore, I believe that our second and third line would definitely be able to put the puck in the net as well. They would have the ability to be a handful for other team’s second and third defensive pairings over the course of 60 minutes. Lastly, our fourth line has really good size, doesn’t mind dropping the gloves (Martin), and still actually has some skill. Should we need more grit, simply place Boulton into the lineup.

What do you guys think?

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About the Author: Justin is a die-hard Islanders fan and hockey enthusiast. Besides attending nearly 35 Islanders games per year, and watching the rest on TV, Justin also manages to catch most of the Rangers, Devils, and Bruins games on TV as well, thanks to the location of his college. While he started off just an Islanders fan, his love for the game has allowed him to branch out and just enjoy hockey in every aspect. He aims to provide a new and insightful voice to Hockey Independent.

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  1. MikeLo says:

    Totally agree on the Nino situation and definitely think he deserves a look on JTs line.
    Not sold on Aucoin on line 2. I like Bailey playing third line minutes. Something tells me Ullstrom could use a look on line 2. Boyes with Martin can put some pucks in the net as Boyes is better than your average 4th liner.
    My observations.

    • ChrisTriants says:

      I like Nino with JT, only if Moulson is put somewhere else…reason being that Moulson and Nino both love to pickup rebound goals. I think Bailey will get a shot next to JT and Moulson.

      I like Ullstrom on the third line. The team just needs to give that line an extra two minutes or so. If you were to give me the current roster (assuming injuries are over), I would make the lines like so:

      Moulson-Tavares-Bailey
      Grabner-Nielsen-Okposo
      Ullstrom-Aucoin-Boyes
      Martin-Cizikas-Joensuu/McDonald

  2. Peter says:

    I agree there need to be some line changes but have my own twist and reasoning :

    Moulson – Tavares – Boyes/Bailey

    This would be a 3 game try-out he was brought in to replace PA … Give him a chance and if he doesn’t cut it.. Cut him or move him down to the 3rd/4th line depending on who is performing well.

    Ullstrom – Cizikas – Niederreiter
    Bailey/boyes -Nielsen -Okposo
    Martin – Aucoin – Grabner

    I believe these line would hold up against many in the NHL…. and if given enough Ice time I believe our FOURTH line would provide a much needed boost not to mention have a great impact again other team’s 3rd and 4th lines.

    • Peter says:

      If I had to make a plan B lineup I would start with the following: assuming boyes can put up some goals but not where we need him.

      Moulson – Tavares – Bailey
      Ullstrom – Cizikas – Niederreiter
      Grabner/boyes -Nielsen -Okposo
      Martin – Aucoin – Grabner/boyes

      And my reasoning for putting Grabner on 3rd 4th line is the although he gets his chances (makes his chances) with his speed he isn’t finding the back of the net… maybe on a 3rd/4th line he gets and extra step or 2 over the other teams 3rd/4th liners and the extra couple of steps buy him enough “EXTRA” time for him to slow it down a bit and find the twine.

    • Peter says:

      If I had to make a plan B lineup I would start with the following: assuming boyes can put up some goals but not where we need him.

      Moulson – Tavares – Bailey
      Ullstrom – Cizikas – Niederreiter
      Grabner/boyes -Nielsen -Okposo
      Martin – Aucoin – Grabner/boyes

      And my reasoning for putting Grabner on 3rd 4th line is that although he gets his chances (makes his chances) with his speed he isn’t finding the back of the net… maybe on a 3rd/4th line he gets and extra step or 2 over the other teams 3rd/4th liners and the extra couple of steps buy him enough “EXTRA” time for him to slow it down a bit and find the twine.