The New York Islanders will be roster compliant today, but some players shouldn’t get comfortable, and Andrew Ladd’s return is an issue.
As they stand, the New York Islanders look primed to enter the 2019-20 season.
By mid-November, one will be gone.
Lou Lamoriello spoke to reporters prior to practice on Sunday and divulged news on Andrew Ladd‘s injury progress to Cory Wright of the Islanders official website.
“We were told sometime in the latter part of November,” Lamoriello said. “You’ll see him in a short period of time skating without contact, he is skating every day. You don’t know in those types of situations, it’s controlled skating at this point and he won’t be rushed because of his history.”
In each of the last three seasons, Ladd has suffered some sort of injury with the 2018-19 season being his worst as an Islander. Ladd suffered a tear in his right knee at the beginning of the season, after already missing a large portion of last offseason and training camp due to back issues.
Ladd had surgery on an ACL tear in his left knee this offseason.
From how Lamoriello phrased his answer, the timetable to Ladd returning sounds malleable. Though he’s slated to come back in mid-November, there were questions surrounding whether he should be playing after his previous string of injuries before his left knee.
Given his contractual circumstances, if Ladd can play, he’ll play. So from now until mid-November, consistent playing time will likely come down to an ongoing battle between his health, and the outliers.
Of course, the Islanders could decide to shut down Ladd for the remainder of the season if they have medical proof he should not play.
In reality, the pressure now shifts to Anthony Beauvillier.
After three NHL seasons with three different head coaches, he’s struggled to build offensive consistency. Though he’ll impress during stretches of good play, Beau has gone long stretches without scoring through the last several seasons.
Even after a hot stretch after his first recall from Bridgeport in 2017-18 which saw him scoring at a 30-goal, 60-point pace, the shift from Doug Weight to Trotz was another adjustment, this time to a more defensive game which reflected in his 18-goal, 28 point season.
Michael Dal Colle inked a two-year contract with the New York Islanders and he’ll have to take his biggest step this season. Dal Colle was recalled last season from Bridgeport and played 28 games with the Islanders, recording three goals and seven points.
At this point, it would be likely that Dal Colle is in Friday night’s lineup. His performance in the season’s first month will determine how long he sticks around.
As the two most viable forwards on the roster, Beau and Dal Colle are the likely duo to be duking it out while Tom Kuhnhackl and Ross Johnston will likely shuffle up and down through waivers.
So while the Islanders figured out an immediate solution to their roster, they essentially put a band-aid on a still-bleeding puncture. Time will tell how Lamoriello decides to circumvent both the salary and roster cap.