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Rosner: Islanders Hudson Fasching is the Real Deal

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New York Islanders Hudson Fasching and Mathew Barzal (Photo courtesy of New York Islanders Twitter)

In a span of nine games, New York Islanders forward Hudson Fasching went from a no-name to a household name.

Believed to be a career AHLer, with just 36 NHL games under his belt from 2015 to 2022 split between the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes, the Islanders brought Hudson Fasching in as a depth option this past summer.

Fasching had played in 280 AHL games over that span and had just come off a 14-goal, 23-assist season for the Tucson Roadrunners (Arizona Coyotes AHL affiliate), serving as their captain. With the influx of young talent in Bridgeport, Fasching seemed to be a solid fit to help those youngsters out.

Fasching was a fringe NHLer at best but was more likely to be a career AHLer.

But as they say, the third team’s a charm, and he got his chance to prove he belonged in the NHL when the Islanders started to deal with the injury bug in early December.

The Islanders needed a few bodies as Fasching, along with Cole Bardreau, were recalled on Dec. 1, with Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello explaining during his press conference why two AHL veterans were recalled instead of young prospects.

“Well, first of all, they are positional recalls,” Lamoriello said that morning.

Lamoriello said that the two call-ups have been playing well but went back to the fact that, given the absences in the lineup, they needed a few bottom-six players.

When Fasching was first recalled, he skated on the third line with Zach Parise and Jean-Gabriel Pageau and on the fourth line with Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas.

But it became clear quickly that Fasching fit in more with the fourth line. With the emergence of Simon Holmstrom as the Islanders’ third-line right-winger, Fasching continued to play in Cal Clutterbuck’s spot until Clutterbuck returned to the lineup, only to leave shortly after.

When given a chance, Fasching just played his game and scored in the process with two goals in eight games.

Fasching’s first goal with New York came in his second game with New York via a nifty deflection, but his second goal in white and orange was a highlight-reel one.

In a 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 17, Fasching went around premier defenseman Alex Pietrangelo before tucking the puck past netminder Logan Thompson for the eventual game-winning goal:

 

On Tuesday night, with an early injury to forward Oliver Wahlstrom, Lambert rotated wingers in alongside Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey before settling in with Fasching on that line.

And the threesome of Bailey, Barzal, and Fasching made magic in the New York Islanders 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins

In 3:51 minutes, that line outshot the Penguins 5-0 and outscored them 2-0, per Natural Stat Trick.

Fasching had the primary assist on Barzal’s first goal of the night as his shot deflected off of Barzal’s stick and past Tristan Jarry.

Barzal’s second goal of the night was assist-less since two Penguins players touched the puck, but it was hard work by Fasching in-tight that directly led to the goal.

Fasching fit right in nicely with Barzal and has fit in wherever Lambert has played him, which just hammers home the fact that he is the real deal.

Following the game, Barzal spoke about playing with Fasching and what he brings to the table.

“I thought he was physical, winning battles,” Barzal said. “He’s got a good head for the game, so [he’s] easy to play with.”

Tuesday night was Fasching’s first game that high in the lineup, and he provided his head coach with precisely what he was looking for when down a top player.

“He’s played well. He’s contributing offensively. He’s playing his role. He’s going up and down, and he’s a big guy who gets to the net,” Lambert said. “He’s doing what he needs to do and doing what he has to do to help our hockey team and has done a good job.”

When Fasching suits up for Thursday’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets, that will be his 10th game at the NHL level this season which means he is no longer waiver-exempt.

It will be interesting to see what Lamoriello and Lambert decide to do when injured parties return because, given Fasching’s play, he is not a player that can be taken out of the lineup right now.

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