When the clock struck 5 PM easter time on the east coast, that signified the deadline for all NHL teams to submit their rosters for the 2022-23 season. For the New York Islanders, their roster was mostly set, with no real changes this summer and just that one key acquisition of Alexander Romanov back on draft night.
But with a few injuries to some key lineup pieces, as well as some strong play by fringe players in the organization, New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello along with his first-year NHL head coach Lane Lambert had a few decisions to make prior to Monday’s roster deadline.
Here is the roster:
Along with the roster news, the New York Islanders announced that 35-year-old forward Cal Clutterbuck has been placed on IR retroactive to Sept. 26.
Lou Lamoriello shared that Clutterbuck can come off IR whenever he is ready, but he is unlikely to be ready for opening night.
28-year-old defenseman Scott Mayfield, who has not skated since Oct. 2, was not placed on IR, as he is just under the weather.
Lamoriello shared that Mayfield is expected to be ready for opening night.
Oliver Wahlstrom skated with the group Monday morning as an extra, and he avoids IR as well.
As you can see, the New York Islanders will go with the 14-forward, seven-defenseman strategy, as many teams do to begin the season.
The biggest surprise to the New York Islanders roster, if you call it a surprise, is that 28-year-old forward Nikita Soshnikov made the roster. He had a strong performance at camp and showed off his speed, a needed asset for this New York Islanders team.
“Well, I had not seen Soshnikov play for a period of time. He was with me in Toronto. He had a lot of injuries but when he was healthy, exactly what you see is what I saw there as far as exceptional speed, exceptional shot,” Lamoriello said Monday night. “Plays good defense, a penalty killer. And then he left Toronto and went over to KHL and actually his first year in the KHL, led them in scoring. And then last year was not a good year for him.”
“I knew he wanted to come over and try the NHL again. He called me through his agent because of the past relationship. I knew enough of him so we gave him an entry-level contract with no promises whatsoever and he’s done extremely well in training camp, and we’ll see where it takes us. He brings speed. Number one. And he’s not afraid. He competes.”
Sebastian Aho, despite not getting many looks this preseason, has earned the seventh defenseman job–the sixth if Scott Mayfield is not available for opening night.
As for why Lamoriello went with Aho, he had this to say:
“Well, he’s been here. He’s a left shot, he’s offensively minded, and he plays up-tempo. We know what we can get out of him,” Lamoriello said. “Robin [Salo] appears to have taken the sixth spot at this point, on his play. And also, it was tough to send Paul [LaDue] and Grant [Hutton] down and put them on waivers. They had an excellent camp. They’re right shots, and right now we felt that Sebastian did nothing wrong and has more experience in the NHL.”
Players like 19-year-old Aatu Räty, 20-year-old William Dufour, and 21-year-old Simon Holmstrom did not make the initial roster, but Lamoriello believes they e closer than the organization initially thought.
“I can tell you they’re closer than maybe we would have thought they might have been,” Lamoriello shared. “But as I’ve mentioned on several occasions, we’d rather bring them up a little late rather than too soon.”
“We should have a real good team in Bridgeport. They’ll get to play a lot, but they’re close enough to be ready if any of our players falter at one time or another. We’re very comfortable with what we saw in training camp with all three of the younger players.”
Although the roster could change from now until Thursday, here is the expected opening night lineup: