Apparently, one COVID outbreak wasn’t enough for this New York Islanders team. Just a month after getting over their first outbreak that contributed to an 11 game losing streak, they’re in the midst of another one. The only difference this time around is the NHL’s willingness to postpone games. This outbreak has caused Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings to be postponed, with potentially more on the horizon.
Who’s On The List This Time?
The Islanders currently have eight players out due to COVID-19 related protocols. This list includes Oliver Wahlstrom, Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, Mat Barzal, Robin Salo and Zach Parise. Some may remember that Beauvillier missed the home opener due to protocols as well. That time he was labeled a false positive, but it seems to be a legit issue this time. As for Nelson, this is his second health-related issue of the season after suffering a lower-body injury during the first outbreak. The trio of Barzal, Martin and Salo are all expected to be taken off the list and be ready to play whenever the next game happens.
The Taxi Squad
As the NHL tries to deal with this pandemic, they’ve reintroduced taxi squads. Taxi squads allow clubs to have up to six AHL players available for emergency call-ups. Players cannot be on this list for more than 20 days and their salary will be counted towards the minor leagues. As of right now, the Islanders have four players ready on the taxi squad. These players are Cole Bardreau, Grant Hutton, Simon Holmstrom and Michael Dal Colle.
Dal Colle was a regular on the team last season, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he was the first to receive an opportunity. Hutton was with the team during the first outbreak and played a relatively sound game in that stint. Bardreau hasn’t played with the NHL club since the 2019-20 season as an injury replacement. He’s most known for scoring a game-winning penalty shot goal in 2019 against the Ottawa Senators. Holmstrom is the real mystery player amongst this group. He was the team’s first-round draft choice in 2019. He’s fifth on the Bridgeport Islanders in points at the moment, with 15 points in 28 games. Holmstrom’s NHL projection isn’t much higher than a bottom-six forward, but it will be intriguing to see how he plays in the NHL if need be.
The Schedule Ahead
The question of when the Islanders will play again is the million-dollar question right now. It is reported that Wednesday’s postponement had more to do with the Red Wings situation than the Islanders’ own situation, but the Islanders’ situation is not completely irrelevant. With that being said, Thursday’s game could possibly be played, but there are some doubts. It seems all the more likely that Saturday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers will be the first game back for the Islanders. Of course, this is a constantly changing situation and one never really knows when the next postponement will happen.
The Islanders could be in store for even more postponements in the new year with their upcoming road trip. Some games being hosted by Canadian teams are being postponed to protect revenues while there are crowd capacity limits. On the road trip, the Islanders are making stops in Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary. As of this writing, none of those games have been impacted by this maneuvering from the NHL. But again, this is a very fluid situation and any or all of those three games could possibly be postponed. The reality is, no one knows when the Islanders will take the ice going forward. The Islanders and the NHL as a whole are in a complete state of chaos, and no one knows who or when the next disaster will strike.
Featured image courtesy of ESPN
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