The New York Islanders, ahead of their fifth preseason contest, held an optional morning skate on Thursday ahead of their preseason contest against the New Jersey Devils. Only five forwards and three defensemen took the ice, but it wasn’t the lack of skaters that caught our attention. It was who was out there.
On Wednesday, the New York Islanders optioned five played to their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Islanders. Those players included goaltender Jakub Skarek, along with forwards William Dufour, Simon Holmstrom, Ruslan Iskhakov, and Aatu Räty.
But on Thursday morning, Aatu Räty and Simon Holstrom were back up with the big club for the optional morning skate, along with veteran forwards Josh Bailey, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, captain Anders Lee and defenseman Grant Hutton, Sebastian Aho, and Sam Bolduc.
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Over the last few days, forwards Cal Clutterbuck, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Scott Mayfield have not skated. Per Newsday’s Andrew Gross, Oliver Wahlstrom skated by himself before optional skate, a good sign given the fact that we had not seen him on the ice at all over the few days prior.
If Wahlstrom and Clutterbuck are still unavailable, the Simon Holmstrom call-up does make sense. But with Aatu Räty now up, a centerman must not be available.
Casey Cizikas was on the ice before Wednesday’s morning skate and then left during practice. He was not on the ice Thursday morning, again, as it was optional. But with Räty up, it could be because Cizikas is still out.
Lane Lambert gave no update on the status of his missing players, citing that they are unavailable.
As for who will be in goal tonight, Semyon Varlamov was on the ice before the start of Thursday’s skate. But Sorokin, who played the entirety of Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers, was the only goaltender out there for the optional skate.
So, one can assume Semyon Varlamov will play the entirety of Thursday’s contest, with Sorokin finishing off the preseason Saturday night against the Rangers.
As for what Lambert wants to see from Aatu Räty and Simon Holmstrom Thursday night, it’s another look and another opportunity for these two guys.
“We’ll get another good look at them. You know, I think we want to see more of what we’ve seen, and they just continue to play their game,” Lambert shared Thursday. “We like what they bring. And you know, they’re a couple of young guys, [so] some youth and energy.”
NEW JERSEY DEVILS LINEUP:
Here’s how the #NJDevils are lining up at morning skate ahead of the Islanders.
Likely some last-chance opportunities with just one more game after tonight on the preseason schedule. pic.twitter.com/wItLaouLeb
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) October 6, 2022
Per Amanda Stein, Mackenzie Blackwood was in the New Jersey Devils starter net at their morning skate.
HOW TO WATCH:
Tonight’s New York Islanders can be found on MSGSN, formerly MSG+. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 1050 AM ESPN, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.