EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — Just the idea of Zdeno Chara and Noah Dobson being paired together was sure to get any New York Islander fans excited. When Barry Trotz actually did it on day one of training camp, it caught the attention of plenty on social media.
Chara comes to the Islanders with plenty of experience and a Stanley Cup ring to boot. There isn’t a better person for Dobson, who is entering his second full NHL season, to learn from.
Looking back at Chara’s time in Boston and who he has played with, he has certainly helped the players he’s been paired with grow their game. That was something that Trotz noted right away with Chara.
“He’s done such a good job with some of the people you look and he’s been partnered with,” Trotz said. “Like (Charlie) McAvoy and (Torey) Krug and those guys that they all developed really well. Having a mentor a little bit like that, that’s not bad when you have a guy like Z playing next to you and you’re a young guy. You got a lot of experience and you know that he has your back for sure, so I said that’s where I would start him.”
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However, don’t get your excitement too high just yet for that to stick for the entire season. Trotz did indicate that Zdeno Chara could easily be seen playing with Scott Mayfield or even Ryan Pulock at different points during the year.
“I just said I would start him with Dobber because there’s such a great wealth of experience that he has and knowledge that maybe he can rub off on a young guy,” Trotz said. “I know dobber respects all of our guys, because he’s a very respectful young man, but I think there’s a lot you can learn from (Zdeno Chara). We’ll probably let everybody play a little bit with everybody, but I’m going to start there.”
Don’t Read Too Much Into Lines
It’s the saying that always comes up during the first few days of training camp. There is plenty of excitement around the start of a new year, but the Islanders coaching staff spent the first day of camp getting to know some of the guys they’re not as familiar with.
On the current Islanders roster, there aren’t many, but on the first day Tomas Panik and Anatolii Golyshev got the chance to play on lines they likely wouldn’t find themselves on during the regular season.
Panik was lined up with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck in the spot where Matt Martin usually is. Martin did not skate and is working through an injury he sustained during the playoffs last season.
Golyshev skated alongside Islanders’ top liners Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee.
“Golyshev we feel the strength of his game is goal scoring and the offensive part of the game,” Trotz said. “I wanted to put elements, Leezy and Barzy, two parts of a really good line and see how he would fit. If he’s a guy that makes our team or is a come-up guy we want to put him in the right type of role.”
It was a similar circumstance as to why Trotz put Panik in the spot that he did on Thursday. The Islanders bench boss admitted he wasn’t as familiar with Panik and needed to learn more about his game.
Trotz did say that he’s noticed Panik has a bit of an edge that he plays with. The goal for Trotz overall was to try and get a young player on a line with veterans.
“I have to decide if he’s going to be a top-six forward, a top-nine forward or is he a fourth-line guy that would blend in well,” Trotz said. “I started him there with Casey because I do know he has an edge. I do know that he has gotten under people’s skin on our team, so that’s not a bad spot to start him.”
Where were Varley, Martin and Bolduc?
While the Islanders weren’t worried, they did start off the first day of camp with three players not on the ice. Martin, Semyon Varlamov and Samuel Bolduc. Their absences weren’t anything that appeared to cause any concern for Trotz.
The Islanders bench boss told reporters that Martin was getting very close to returning after having an offseason procedure done. Varlamov had been out skating and had some soreness which the Islanders have decided to approach with caution.
“He’s obviously such a big part of (the team) and it’s right at the start of training camp, so we’re just going to let things settle down for him,” Trotz said.
Bolduc suffered “a little bit of an injury” when he was skating with teammates. Trotz characterized it as “nothing major” and hopes to have Bolduc back on the ice within the next couple of days.”
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