Following their 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on Monday, after blowing a three-goal lead and failing to put the game out of reach early, New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert was asked if he had enough finishers on the roster.
“Absolutely,” Lambert said. “We’ve been creating opportunities, and there are certain guys that have been in droughts, and they’ll come out of them.”
Actions speak louder than words, as the Islanders two roster moves on Wednesday ahead of their game against the Boston Bruins show that the Islanders are willing to sacrifice their defense for offense as they have recalled 20-year-old forward Willian Dufour and 24-year-old defenseman Dennis Cholowski.
Dufour has “a cannon” of a shot, per Islanders Oliver Wahlstrom to NYI Hockey Now back in late September.
He’s scored 13 times with 12 assists in his first 37 games in the American Hockey League after a dominant season in the QMJHL and a dominant display on the world stage at this past summer’s World Juniors.
He replaces 21-year-old Simon Holmstrom in the lineup, who has shown well defensively in his first 18 NHL games, but his lack of offense has been the issue, with just one goal on 11 shots.
“He didn’t really get much practice time. You know, he continues to be solid defensively and is a very intelligent player,” Lambert said regarding Holmstrom. “He needs to get a little bit more offense to his game.”
As for the change on the backend, Cholowski replaces Parker Wotherspoon and will skate alongside Ryan Pulock against the Boston Bruins.
Cholowski has never been known as a gifted defender, with his offensive skills the standout.
“He’s got experience. He’s a good skater. He’s a puck-moving guy, and we’re looking to break pucks out of our own and better,” Lambert said.
Cholowski has 17 assists in 35 games with Bridgeport this season.
“We’re looking for him just to make a good first pass. Don’t do anything more than that,” Lambert said. “He’s had success doing that in the past.”
Wotherspoon has been solid defensively in his 11 games but has just one assist and 10 shots in an average of 13:29 per game.
Over the course of this homestand, four games with a 1-1-2 record, the New York Islanders have scored just seven goals, 1.75 per game. Let’s see if these two new additions help spark the offense as they try to finish the homestand at an even .500 point-wise before making the trip to Buffalo for a Thursday night showdown.