Per the NHL media site, the New York Islanders have returned three players to the Bridgeport Islanders in forwards Aatu Räty and Hudson Fasching, along with defenseman Parker Wotherspoon.
Unless these moves were just paper transactions, as we have seen the New York Islanders make throughout the season, these moves could mean some positivity on the injured front.
Here is the last injury update we received following Friday night’s 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers:
- Kyle Palmieri (upper body) is on IR, retro Dec. 16
- Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) is on IR, retro Dec. 16
- Adam Pelech (upper body) is on IR, retro Dec. 6
- Semyon Varlamov (lower body) is on IR, retro Dec. 17
- Casey Cizikas (upper body) is day-to-day
- Brock Nelson (upper body), no update
- Simon Holmstrom (lower body), no update
Anyone on Injured Reserve can return for the New York Islanders next contest on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins if ready.
Räty only plays center, so it is likely that Cizikas’ injury was minor and that he could be ready for the Islanders’ next contest on Tuesday night against the Penguins.
The 20-year-old prospect had himself an NHL debut, playing sound defensively while also scoring his first NHL goal–which was a beauty.
Räty’s demotion can also mean that centerman Brock Nelson, who left Friday’s contest after taking a puck to the head, may have avoided any injury that would keep him out of the lineup.
Hudson Fasching, who has been in the lineup filling in for the injured Cal Clutterbuck, has played exceptionally well at the NHL level scoring a few goals but playing strong along the boards. He proved over his eight-game stint that he has the tools to play in the NHL.
Could his demotion mean that Clutterbuck is ready to return?
Or is Kyle Palmieri ready, as he had been the only injured players skating on his own?
Clutterbuck has missed nine games this season with a few different injuries.
What both forward demotions could also mean, given the fact that Fasching is a winger, is that Simon Holmstrom may have escaped the Panthers game with just minor injuries.
He left in the second period after Panthers forward Sam Bennett skated right through his left knee, forcing him to be helped off the ice.
On the backend, 25-year-old Parker Wotherspoon was a breath of fresh air for the Islanders as he played responsible defense while showing off his offensive instincts in his NHL debut on Friday. Since Adam Pelech went down with an injury, Robin Salo had been in the lineup but struggled to play a solid defensive game.
With Wotherspoon back in Bridgeport, for now, does that mean Pelech could be skating?
As of Friday, Pelech had not been skating yet, but things could have changed over the weekend as he tries to work his way back from a head injury that has forced him out of the lineup for the last eight games.
The New York Islanders need their starters back healthy sooner than later, but the positive is that the recalls have shown that there is organizational depth, NHL-ready depth.
We shall see if these roster removes remain when the freeze ends at 12:01 AM on Tuesday, Dec. 28, as one could argue that a few of these players deserve to play every night over some of the NHL staples.