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?
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.