The New York Islanders have a handful of players that have not been at their best in 2022-23. With how the Metropolitan Division is shaping up, head coach Lane Lambert can ill-afford to have passengers on a nightly basis. He needs players in the lineup that will go full-throttle shift after shift.
Over the last two games, that’s what Lambert has seen from 27-year-old forward and recent call-up Hudson Fasching, who has shown well filling in for Cal Clutterbuck (upper-body, day-to-day). Ross Johnston was a player that generally would have filled the fourth-line role, but Fasching got the chance instead.
The Islanders did not skate Friday morning, so we do not know who is in or out yet, but based on Thursday’s line rushes, Clutterbuck looks to be returning after a three-game absence. Fasching skated as an extra but based on what we have seen through his first two games with New York, he deserves a better fate than being a healthy scratch.
At the end of the day, he was called up to serve a need and did precisely that.
In 25:31 minutes of play, Fasching has a goal on four shots, with three hits and a block. He has created six individual scoring chances for himself, five being ruled as high-danger per Natural Stat Trick.
When on the ice, the Islanders have outshot their opponents 18-9, with 1.64 Expected Goals For and just 0.8 Expected Goals Against, with both the Islanders and their opponents scoring twice.
— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) December 7, 2022
“Well, I liked what he did. He played well, and we all could see it,” New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “He was on pucks. He was strong, and he was [a] net front [presence]. He made some good plays.”
As for the possibility of Fasching playing despite Clutterbuck’s return: “Those decisions will be made as we go forward. From the first couple of games that he played, and I think that’s a distinct possibility.”
Fasching was a perfect fit on the fourth line. Given his ability to win board battles, help in the transition, and play a responsible hockey brand, he could be a solid option on the Islanders third line alongside Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Zach Parise.
Currently, Simon Holmstrom fills that role, but if Lambert wanted to, he certainly could elevate Holmstrom to the Brock Nelson line, as Anthony Beauvillier has struggled to provide consistent production all season. A few days in the press box may benefit the 24-year-old winger, a reset to see if that will get him playing the way he needs to play on a nightly basis.
NYI Hockey Now caught up with Fasching following Thursday’s practice to get his thoughts on how he played, what he had heard from management, and more:
“I’ve had some pretty positive feedback, and generally, they’re happy with my game,” Fasching said. “Obviously, a veteran guy is coming back into the lineup and welcoming him back in.”
The fact that Fasching remains up with the New York Islanders is a major confidence boost.
“I mean, it’s always an honor to be here, and yeah, it feels good to have them kind of behind me on that,” Fasching said. “I’m keeping a positive mindset, trying to be here for the team the best I can, and if something happens and they need me, I’ll try to be ready.”