The COVID outbreak among the New York Islanders had a major impact on the team’s roster, but it also had an unintended positive. At least that’s how head coach Barry Trotz had viewed it.
Since the Islanders had lost a number of starters to COVID protocol and injury, the Islanders had to call up several players from AHL Bridgeport. Thus allowing Trotz and his coaching staff the opportunity to get an in-depth look at what the Islanders have in terms of depth and what’s in the prospect pool in Bridgeport.
Robin Salo, Grant Hutton, Paul LaDue, Andy Andreoff, Otto Koivula, Richard Panik and Thomas Hickey all saw playing time. The only Bridgeport call-up to not see any ice time was Anatolii Golyshev.
“They’ve all had games where there’s parts of games or game where they were very good,” Trotz said. “There was times in every one of those games too that there were situations that they looked a little bit unsure. That’s going to come with more time and confidence.”
As Trotz has done throughout the four-game stretch where COVID really impacted the Islanders’ lineup, he has tried to find the silver lining through everything.
That was the case on Wednesday afternoon as the New York Islanders prepared to host the San Jose Sharks at UBS Arena. While Trotz didn’t name any specific players, he did say that some of the team’s younger players were further along in their development.
“We did find out a lot about our young guys and that they’re closer,” Trotz said. “You can win with them. Right now you just might not be able to win with four. For instance, four defensemen being that young on the backend right now. But with one or two of them in the lineup every night you can and that’s a good feeling.
“We haven’t had that for a little bit and they’re starting to come in terms of some of the younger people.”