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Islanders Lose Another Forward, Räty Likely to Make NHL Debut



Aatu Räty, New York Islanders
New York Islanders forward Aatu Räty (Photo-via Bridgeport Islanders Twitter)

ELMONT, NY– Despite the NHL Roster Freeze, the New York Islanders made moves on Friday.

Following a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday night, the New York Islanders had little to no time to focus on what transpired over the sixty-minute affair.

The Florida Panthers are in town for a Friday night showdown, with puck drop coming up at 7:30 PM ET.

Before the contest, the New York Islanders announced that forward Kyle Palmieri (upper body) and goaltender Semyon Varlamov (lower body) have been placed on Injured Reserve.

Palmieri’s IR stint is retroactive to Dec. 16 while Varlamov’s is retroactive to Dec. 17.

Forward Casey Cizikas is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

In subsequent moves, Aatu Räty and defenseman Parker Wotherspoon have been recalled from Bridgeport (AHL) and both are game-time decisions.

Palmieri and Varlamov join Adam Pelech and Cal Clutterbuck on IR, and with Cizikas now out, the Islanders are without four regulars at least until their contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

The only forward options Lambert has is either playing Räty or playing Ross Johnston.

When asked about Räty, Lambert raved about his all-around game:

“He’s played really well in Bridgeport. He’s a 200-foot player, plays both sides of the puck, and he’s played in all situations down there. For me, what I’ve seen is his compete level is very, very high. He’s having success, and it’ll translate,” Lambert said. 

Robin Salo, who struggled mightily against the New York Rangers is likely out of the lineup as Lambert expressed that Wotherspoon deserved an opportunity.

“Well, Parker’s been in the organization a long time. He’s earned and deserves an opportunity,” Lambert said. 

As for Salo: “Robin is continuing to grow as a player, as we said last night. So, you know, it’s part of a young player’s progress.” 

It sounds like Ilya Sorokin will make his second start in as many nights. He stopped 29 of 33 in the loss to the Rangers. With Semyon Varlamov out, Cory Schneider (emergency call-up) will likely serve as Sorokin’s back up for a third-straight contest. 

“He is more than capable of playing back-to-back. I thought he played great last night,” Lambert said. 

We will find out lines during warmups. 

Islanders Recall Top Prospect Aatu Räty, 2 More Players on IR

With the injuries piling up for the New York Islanders, general manager Lou Lamoriello has gone to the Bridgeport Islanders well as he has recalled top prospect Aatu Räty.

The Islanders have also recalled defenseman Parker Wotherspoon and have placed forward Kyle Palmieri (retro Dec. 16) and goaltender Semyon Varlamov (Retro Dec.18) on Injured Reserve. They join defenseman Adam Pelech, who is on IR, retroactive to Dec. 6.

Islanders Recall Top Prospect Aatu Räty, 2 More Players on IR

Islanders Lack of Defensive Cohesiveness May Prove Fatal

This year, the Islanders’ defensive play may still have them as a top-10 defense. Still, there’s no question that their push for offense has negatively affected their ability to play the responsible brand of hockey that had been their bread-and-butter during the Barry Trotz era.

Last year’s struggles defensively made sense, given the personnel.

But this season, with the acquisition of Alexander Romanov and a healthy Ryan Pulock, the Islanders had the potential to be a premier defense.

Islanders Lack of Defensive Cohesiveness May Prove Fatal