East Meadow, NY– All signs pointed to Casey Cizikas being ready to return for the New York Islanders. All that was left to do was the team making it official.
Ahead of their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, the Islanders activated Cizikas off long-term injured reserve.
#Isles make it official. Cizikas off LTIR, MacLean down to Bridgeport.
— Andrew Fantucchio (@A_Fantucchio) February 8, 2024
Cizikas has been out of action with a lower-body injury he suffered by blocking a shot off his right knee in a loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 9. He’s since missed the last 10 games.
Since the Islanders returned from the NHL’s All-Star break, it became increasingly apparent that Cizikas was nearing a return.
On Sunday, he was back with the team for practice for the first time since his injury, wearing a non-contact jersey. On Wednesday, he was a full participant in team drills while wearing a full-contact jersey and skated in his usual spot during line rushes between Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin.
“It’s nice to have him back,” Clutterbuck said. “I know him very well. He’s an engine. He’s got quite the motor on him, and it really pushes the pace for us.”
In 39 games, Cizikas has 11 points with five goals.
To fit Cizikas on the roster, sent Kyle MacLean down to AHL Bridgeport.
MacLean made his NHL debut on Jan. 19 and played six games with the Islanders while filling in Cizikas’s spot on the fourth line. Against the Maple Leafs in the Islanders’ last game, MacLean scored his first NHL goal.
Cizikas is expected to be back in the Islanders lineup tonight against the Lightning at UBS Arena.