Tuesday morning Islanders’ fans woke up to breaking news. Forward Anatoly Golyshev terminated his contract with Yekaterinburg Avtomobilist of the KHL for an expected move to Long Island.
Golyshev, 26, was drafted by the organization in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL draft.
Five years after then-GM Garth Snow’s selection, Golyshev may finally don the Isles sweater. Similar to the arrival of Ilya Sorokin over the summer, the Isles will now need to sign Golyshev to a contract.
So where does the 5’8 winger fit into the current Islanders organization and what should fans expect?
Never give up on a play. Be like Anatoly Golyshev. pic.twitter.com/K7hFRTjzP4— KHL (@khl_eng) November 12, 2020
Many around the NHL expect the Islanders to be buyers at the trade deadline, especially after placing captain Anders Lee on LTIR (freeing up $7M AAV). The Isles will be in search of offensive help at the deadline. To be specific, they will be in the market for a winger who can put the puck in the back of the net.
Can Golyshev be that player?
Golyshev is leaving Avtomobilist as the franchise’s all-time leader in goals (109) and points (220) over his 403 games. This would seem to make him a perfect fit for the offense needy Islanders. This, of course, has gotten Isles fans excited and chatting on social media over a third line consisting of Golyshev, Oliver Wahlstrom and J.G. Pageau. Without a doubt, the speed, skill and work rate of these three players would make for a very exciting line.
It is important to note, that it is often difficult for rookies to earn their spot into a Barry Trotz lineup. The Russian could be an exception, he would be joining the team with eight professional seasons under his belt in the second toughest league in the world. That kind of experience may help the winger earn the confidence of Trotz sooner than the average rookie.
Even if Golyshev were able to quickly earn his coach’s trust don’t expect to see him in an Islanders sweater just yet. Per the NHL COVID-19 protocols, he will be forced to quarantine upon arrival. Playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for at least a few games prior to joining the Isles’ roster, also is more than likely.
“He was mentally ready for this, this is entirely his decision,” said Golyshev’s agent Alexander Kazionov yesterday. “Nobody, of course, guarantees him a place in the starting lineup. Everything will be visible there on the spot. I can’t say if he will make his way through the AHL. It was about the Islanders.”
Another possible scenario, is Golyshev being used as trade bait heading into the deadline. Islander general manager, Lou Lamoriello, is known for keeping things close to the vest and keeping the league and its fans on their toes. It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine Lamoriello using Golyshev as a part of a package to acquire a player such as Taylor Hall.
Regardless of Lamoriello’s plans for the 26-year-old Russian, fans have a lot to be excited about.
Golyshev can provide the wing depth this team desperately needs or could be part of a deal that brings in a big name. In one way or another, the arrival of Golyshev could be critical for a Stanley Cup run.
Follow Ryan on Twitter at @ryandunni