The New York Islanders scrimmaged for the first time this training camp on Wednesday, with one player still very noticeably absent from the ice.
Four days into camp and Mathew Barzal remains unsigned as talks between the Islanders and Barzal’s agent continue. The Islanders had been hoping that Barzal would be on the ice for the start of camp, which opened on Sunday with physicals.
Instead, Mathew Barzal has remained away from the team as on-ice work began on Monday in East Meadow.
Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said earlier in the week that the team was prepared for anything and knew that it had to be adaptable, especially under the current circumstances. However, from a preparation standpoint, missing time on the ice does have an impact considering the short period of time to train before the season.
“If you’re going to start the season, you have to get going right away,” Trotz said on Wednesday. ” We’ve grinded, we’ve done what we do as an organization, as a franchise, and how we play, I don’t know if you can replicate what we’re doing if you’ve been out for a while. We’re going to have live (shots) in a week from now. It’s going to be tough for anyone who’s trying to catch up.”
The Islanders had spent the first two days on the ice working on more fundamentals of their game. Wednesday they transitioned to their first taste of what a live game will be like come next week.
And in an effort for balanced coverage – here are some saves made in the #Isles Blue vs White scrimmage. @News12LI @islessignguy @islesmeetupCT @islesgirl10 @Bluelinedeli719 @Offside_Tavern pic.twitter.com/dadem6EaeO
— Kevin Maher (@KMaherNews12) January 7, 2021
The Islanders open the regular season at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Jan. 14. So the preparation for the start of the season will be short, and even shorter for anyone still not on the ice.
“You need to be in live-action as much as you can and right now, the live-action is the practices and scrimmages,” Trotz said.
With Barzal not on the ice, Jean-Gabriel Pageau was moved up to the first-line center spot during the scrimmage, according to Joe Pantorno.
Mathew Barzal was one of five players not on the ice on Wednesday. Tom Kuhnhackl, Austin Czarnik, Simon Holmstrom and Dmytro Timashov did not participate in the scrimmage.
Trotz told reporters that Timashov wasn’t available and that it wasn’t an illness. Timashov has been on the ice during the first two days at Northwell Health Ice Center even though he is still an unsigned restricted free agent.
A report on Wednesday indicated that contract talks between the Islanders and Barzal, but threw a new wrinkle into the mix. The Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta indicated that the Islanders were trying to work out a trade to stay compliant with the salary cap.
As the NYI/Barzal negotiations continue, multiple sources tell me the Isles are engaged in trade talks to stay cap compliant. One source said the NYI are "shopping multiple players" — aside from Hickey, I'm told Komarov is one of them (again). Don't think a deal is close, yet.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) January 6, 2021
The Islanders have only $3.9 million in free cap space at the moment.
Among those mentioned that were being shopped by Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello were Thomas Hickey and Leo Komarov.
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