We have begun inching closer to the 2020-21 season. The New York Islanders have difficult choices to make. How the lineup shapes to be is going to be a tough one for head coach Barry Trotz. Here is how their lineup might look in 2021.
VARLAMOV, SOROKIN, OR SCHNEIDER?
Semyon Varlamov will be the number one goalie heading into training camp. Ilya Sorokin will be Varlamov’s backup. General Manager Lou Lamoriello likely is signing Cory Schneider. I do think there is a chance Schneider or Sorokin may be in the AHL to start the season. With a very tight schedule, don’t be surprised to see the Islanders use a three-goalie system. Here is how I see the goalie depth chart turning out:
PELECH AND PULOCK BACK ON TOP
New York is going to return with Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock as the top pairing. Noah Dobson, Nick Leddy, and Scott Mayfield are back with the Islanders. Andy Greene will sign a one-year deal and should pair firmly with Dobson. There is a good chance the Islanders will trade Johnny Boychuk.
PELECH – PULOCK
LEDDY – MAYFIELD
GREENE – DOBSON
Barry Trotz has been relatively consistent with his forward lines the past two seasons. Expect for the top two lines from the playoffs to remain intact, along with the identity line.
THE TOP LINE
LEE – BARZAL – EBERLE
Mathew Barzal drives the play for the Islanders, oftentimes looking for an open Jordan Eberle. With Anders Lee camped in front of the net, this gives Trotz the predictability on the ice that Barzal lacks, for better or worse. Barzal and Eberle have been with each other since the 2017-18 season. This line has been together since the 2019 Playoffs.
THE KILLER B’S
BEAUVILLIER – NELSON – BAILEY
Arguably the top line for the Islanders in the playoffs over the summer, this trio was responsible in both ends of the ice. In the opening series vs Florida, Beauvillier totaled five points along with three from Nelson.
Their chemistry has been through the roof. Trotz will likely not try to tool with this line at all.
THE THIRD LINE
LADD – PAGEAU – KOMAROV
One might be asking about Andrew Ladd. If he remains in the NHL with the Islanders, this line with JG Pageau and Leo Komarov could probably turn things around. Pageau is the guy for Ladd to resurrect his scoring touch. Komarov’s strong defensive play combined with Pageau who is one of the game’s underrated top penalty killers makes this a line that can thrive under the Trotz system.
THE IDENTITY LINE
MARTIN – CIZIKAS – CLUTTERBUCK
For much of the season, Trotz starts this line to begin most Islander games. This line is one of the few in the NHL that has very little star power, yet can shut down any opponent they face. Their identity was built around their physicality and work ethic. As Barry Trotz has said in the past, they play with an “Islander” identity.
Thomas Hickey and Ross Johnston could be bouncing in and out of the lineup next season to give some veterans a night off with a condensed schedule. Hickey is one of the few players that can successfully rotate between the forwards and defensive units.