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Monday at noon, the New York Islanders announced further cuts to their training camp roster by waiving seven players. Among the group were Thomas Hickey and Andrew Ladd Jersey.
The New York Islanders placed seven players on the waiver wire Monday afternoon. Included in that list were several players from the team’s official training camp roster, including defenseman Thomas Hickey and forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau Jersey.

Arthur Staple first reported the news via Twitter.

The waiver list comes on a day in which many NHL teams are waiving players in preparation for Wednesday when the NHL’s 2020-21 schedule commences.

There had been a report by Staple earlier in the day that the Islanders were still seeking a trade in the interest of freeing up salary. Should it be Hickey who is dealt in a potential trade, Staple noted, it would leave the Islanders thin on defensive depth. In other words, should there be a trade involving Hickey, look out for the Isles to take a crack at scooping a defenseman off of another team’s waiver list.

The Islanders’ opening night roster became a lot clearer on Monday. It apparently will heavily feature familiar faces, and some promising prospects may have to bide their time, if potentially only for the short term.

The season opener is Thursday night against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden and the initial roster must be submitted to the NHL by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Forwards Andrew Ladd, Tanner Fritz, Cole Bardreau, Austin Czarnik Jersey and A.J. Greer and defensemen Thomas Hickey and Parker Wotherspoon were placed on waivers in order to make them eligible to be reassigned to either the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport or the team’s four-to-six-player taxi squad.

Forwards Josh Ho-Sang Jersey  and Mason Jobst cleared waivers on Monday and now can be reassigned.

Waiver-eligible forwards Leo Komarov Jersey, Michael Dal Colle Jersey and Ross Johnston were not placed on waivers, making it almost certain that they will be on the initial roster. Two of those three could start the season on center Sebastian Aho Jersey third line.

Casey Cizikas Jersey status also is unclear after he appeared to hurt his left hand or lower left arm and was forced to leave Sunday’s scrimmage at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. Coach Barry Trotz did not have an update Sunday and the Islanders were off Monday.

If the invaluable fourth-line center is unavailable Thursday, Komarov, one of Trotz’s most trusted penalty-killers, likely will play between Matt Martin Jersey and Cal Clutterbuck Jersey.

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That means there likely won’t be room on the initial roster for prospects Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows or Otto Koivula, who have had strong camps, according to Trotz.

President and general manager Lou Lamoriello has been trying to clear space, both against the $81.5 million salary cap and on the roster, by shopping Komarov, Hickey and Ladd, but he has found no takers.

Most likely, Hickey and Sebastian Aho, who also is waiver-eligible, will be the extra defensemen.

The Islanders are expected to place defenseman Johnny Boychuk Jersey, who announced in late November that he is unable to continue his career because of an eye injury, on long-term injured reserve Tuesday.

That will allow them to exceed the cap ceiling by the $6 million annual average value of Boychuk’s contract during the season.

Teams can exceed the cap ceiling by 10% until Tuesday. Saturday’s re-signing of restricted free agent Mathew Barzal Jersey to a three-year, $21 million deal placed the Islanders at $84.6 million.

That figure doesn’t include not-yet-announced deals for Martin (four years, $6 million), defenseman Andy Greene Jersey (one year, $700,000), goalie Cory Schneider and forward Dmytro Timashov.

No deal has been officially announced for Timashov, an RFA acquired from the Red Wings who also is waiver-eligible. However, Timashov participated in the early portion of training camp, making it likely he either will be included in the Islanders’ initial roster or placed on injured reserve.

Tom Kuhnhackl Jersey, who spent the previous two seasons with the Islanders, was listed on their 38-player training camp roster but remains unsigned and has yet to practice with the team.

Takeaways
According to The Athletic’s James Mirtle, 139 players were placed on waivers today across the league. One blueliner who is likely to be plucked from his original team is Calgary’s Oliver Kylington, a seventh defenseman due to make $787,500 in 2020-21.

Also worth noting are the Islanders players who did not see their names on the waivers list. Those include Leo Komarov Jersey, Ross Johnston Jersey, Michael Dal Colle, Dmytro Timashov, and Sebastian Aho.

Waiver-eligible #Isles who will apparently be on the opening roster:

Leo Komarov
Ross Johnston
Michael Dal Colle
Dmytro Timashov (contract still not official)
Sebastian Aho

Could still be a trade, but likely means Bellows/Wahlstrom/Koivula start the season off the roster.

— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) January 11, 2021

As Staple mentions, the inclusion of these guys on the Islanders opening night roster likely means there won’t be a third line featuring Oliver Wahlstrom or Kieffer Bellows, as many of us had hoped there would be. At least, not right away.

As waiver-exempt players, Wahlstrom, Bellows, and Otto Koivula Jersey can be re-assigned to the minors without a 24-hour period exposing them to other NHL teams. Meaning, as the Islanders scramble to reach the $81.500 million cap ceiling (so as to maximize the $6 million LTIR space that Johnny Boychuk will give,) the young guns will likely be in Bridgeport come Wednesday.

Given his situation, Thomas Hickey Jersey inclusion on Monday’s waivers list must certainly be frustrating. Hickey’s had a tough go both on and off the ice recently (subscription required), and I can’t help but hope that he finds a place on an NHL roster somewhere during the 2020-21 season.

I echo that hope for Josh Ho-Sang, who, after finding himself not invited to Islanders training camp, was waived by the team on Sunday and cleared today. Certainly, character issues have been a concern with the young winger. But, and have no doubt about this, there will be players with far worse off-ice infractions, and far less on-ice talent, who will be on an NHL roster come the 13th. That is a bet I’d be willing to place without a second thought.

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The New York Islanders are absolutely a top team in the NHL and made a habit of beating the other top teams in the NHL last season.
It’s hard to convince people that the New York Islanders are a top team in the NHL. As the start of the 2021 season approaches more and more predictions and prognostications come out and most of them don’t have the Islanders as one of the top teams in the division let alone the league.

And I get it. On paper, the Islanders don’t exactly have a top tier looking team. Their top player is Mathew Barzal Jersey who finished a COVID shortened year on pace for 72 points. That doesn’t scream elite-level team.

But their record over the last two seasons says otherwise. With 150 games played since 2018-19, the Islanders are 83-15-17 for 183 points. That’s the seventh-best record in the entire league.

And now with a bit of digging, it seems the Isles are also pretty good against the toughest of opposition.

Fans are most looking forward to the New York Rangers vs New York Islanders rivalry
Rejoice, Blueshirt fans! With the new divisions set for the 2021 season, rivalries abound for the New York Rangers. Blue Line Stations conducted an informal Twitter poll to see which rivalry fans think will be the best this upcoming season. The Islanders won, hands down.

With the Blueshirts playing each team in their division eight times and with the schedule loaded with back-to-back games, it’s going to be an exciting season. We had a preview of what this schedule will be like last season when the Rangers played the Islanders three times in nine days in January.

The Rangers won the first two games, the first 6-2 at the Garden. It was the Artemi Panarin show as he established a personal high with five points on two goals and three assists. The second game, at the Nassau Coliseum, was a nail biter with Chris Kreider scoring the winning goal on the power play with 25 seconds left in the game.

The third game was a 4-2 Islander win at Madison Square Garden, the only game that Artemi Panarin missed the whole season, out with an upper body injury.

Alexandar Georgiev was in net for all three games based on his play against the Isles. Was there any bad blood in the series? It was apparent when Scott Mayfield Jersey speared Brendan Lemieux in the third period of the third game, getting a double minor.

Best of the Best
Against arguably the best eight teams in the NHL, the New York Islanders hold the best record going 13-6-3 this season with a +6 goal differential.

In this case, the “top eight teams” in the NHL were derived by their point-percentages last season. Those teams are the Boston Bruins (.714), St Louis Blues (.662), Colorado Avalanche (.657), Tampa Bay Lightning (.657), Washington Capitals (.652), Philadelphia Flyers (.645), Pittsburgh Penguins (.623), and Vegas Golden Knights (.606).

Which NHL team had the best regular-season record against THE BEST* teams?

yup. you guessed it. ✅ the @NYIslanders .659 PTS %age

*top 8 NHL teams using highest points %age, they are the Bruins, Avs, Flyers, Pens, Blues, TBL, Vegas & the Caps. pic.twitter.com/Yk40W6BGU6

— Jason Paul 🥥 (@WaveIntel) December 22, 2020

I understand that at the end of the day you measure the most dominant team by their record and the Islanders 35-23-10 record in 2019-20 (eleventh in the NHL by point-percentage) isn’t what you would call “dominant”. But a healthy New York Islanders club clearly scares the top teams in the NHL.

Holding the seventh-best record in the NHL should be enough to convince anyone that the Islanders are a top team in the NHL. But of course, that’s never enough. The Isles are always going to be that hapless club from the ’90s to some.

Eyes On Isles
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So while this new look at how dominant the Isles are against the best-of-the-best it won’t change some perceptions around the league even though it absolutely should.