While it’s difficult not to trust head coach Barry Trotz with how he constructs the lineup, there have been some headscratchers this season, namely, whenever Leo Komarov is playing. Be that as it may, there’s a method to his madness, as we’ve seen, and, at least as of late, the Islanders are doing their best to turn things around.
A bit of extra good news is, eventually, Anthony Beauvillier will come back and give the Islanders more depth up-front. With Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows showing they belong on the roster, and Michael Dal Colle proving he can contribute offensively – at least for now – it creates an interesting situation for the Islanders. But the question then becomes – what does the lineup look like?
On the Nassaumen Hockey Podcast, James Nichols and Joe Pantorno are hoping for there to be a bit of a shakeup, specifically, Anders Lee going down to the third line. I’m not sure I agree with this wholeheartedly, and I expressed that to both of them on the show, but it’s not a terrible idea. In my prediction, I don’t have Lee down on that line, though he may play well with J.G. Pageau. Instead, I have Beauvillier reuniting with Mathew Barzal and flanked by the big-bodied Lee. Barzal benefits from having Lee on the line, so adding some speed and drive next to Barzal may prove to be the fire that sparks that first line even more.
In his 500th NHL game, Anders Lee makes it 3-0 Islanders in the first period
— Islanders Videos (@SNY_Islanders) January 29, 2021
Here’s the rest of the lineup as I (hope to) see it:
Lee – Barzal – Beauvillier
Dal Colle – Nelson – Eberle
Bailey – Pageau – Bellows/Wahlstrom
Clutterbuck – Cizikas – Martin
First, I think Wahlstrom and Bellows being in the lineup together is a pipe dream, which is why I have both of them fighting for a spot on the new third line with Josh Bailey and Pageau. They play a similar style and have adapted to the Islanders’ heavier style, so I think they both work there. I don’t agree with that, but I don’t believe for a second Trotz is going to have both of them in there unless he really begins to trust their defensive game. Either one could easily swap with Dal Colle if they need more of a punch on the second line with Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle, who have played well together as of late.
Even if Komarov does make it into the lineup, it would most likely be in place of Dal Colle. That isn’t great, I agree, but Nelson and Eberle together are pretty good and it still gives Trotz a more than capable third line.
What do you think? How do the Islanders’ construct their lineup with Beauvillier returns?
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