New York Islanders' Practice Lines Give Glimpse Into Line Combos
Sep 27, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during the third period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday’s last practice before the start of the NHL season, Arthur Staple of Newsday tweeted out the New York Islanders practice lines:

Normally, fans do well not to read too heavily into these. However, on the day before the first game of the season the top line of Andrew Ladd, John Tavares and Jason Chimera has fans scratching their heads.

The Islanders open their season against the Rangers in Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. ET.

Chimera Joins The 1st Line

Yes, you did read that correctly. Jason Chimera, the former Washington Capitals agitator, who was signed to replace former Isles agitator Matt Martin, is probably going to get top line minutes with John Tavares. When asked about his new top line coach Jack Capuano said it’s “just to try it.”

Whether Chimera actually is on the top line will remain to be seen until Thursday night, but the fact that this line has been practicing for sometime now strongly hints that the lines used will be the lines we see once the puck drops at MSG.

At 37, Chimera is a player who has defied father time, he skates around with the young guys, has softer hands than he gets credit for and can create a lot of space for Ladd and Tavares to get more freedom. Maybe it’s not such a crazy idea after all, it remains to be seen.

Retooling The Energy Line

With Chimera skating on the first line, the fourth line slot has been filled in by Nikolai Kulemin. Kulemin drastically changes the dynamic of Cizikas and Clutterbuck, who both are far more dynamic that their face value “fourth line” role alludes to. With Kulemin skating alongside the two, expect the fourth line to contribute more to the offense this season. This will be a very interesting line to keep an eye on.

2nd & 3rd Lines

Other notable combinations include Ryan Strome moving to the second line center and moving Brock Nelson to the third line. Strome is skating with Lee and Prince while Nelson is paired with Beauvillier on the left and Bailey on the right side. Anthony Beauvillier will be an interesting prospect to watch tonight, he has been praised for his two-way game on the powerplay and on the penalty kill. With the team in need of someone to fill the enourmous void left by Nielsen, Capuano is seeing if Beauvillier can stay past his nine game tryout.

Projected Islanders lineup:

Ladd – Tavares – Chimera
Lee – Strome – Prince
Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey
Kulemin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Barzal, Quine

Leddy – Hamonic
Hickey – Boychuk
deHaan – Seidenberg


Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.