The New York Islanders added two more veterans to the IR, prompting Otto Koivula’s first NHL recall.Injuries haven’t halted the New York Islanders‘ seven-game winning streak, and the latest injury gives fans a first look at Otto Koviula.
#Isles Transactions: Tom Kuhnhackl (lower body) and Matt Martin (lower body) have been placed on IR (retroactive to 10/25/19). Otto Koivula has been recalled from Bridgeport. https://t.co/ncbNXxgZwd
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 30, 2019
Touted as the organization’s best Center prospect in Bridgeport, Koivula’s first season in North America proved successful. In 69 AHL games, he scored 21 goals and 46 points with another two assists in five playoff games.
Through his first six games in the AHL, Koivula has two assists and is a minus-four.
It’s worth noting that center depth has been a harrowing issue for the Islanders since the 2018 free agency. Last season, Valtteri Filppula was the thin separation keeping the Isles’ depth scoring from bottoming out.
This season, that role fell upon Derick Brassard for the first eight games of the season. Since moving to the wing three games ago, Brass has a goal in each contest (a three-game scoring streak).
So with the Isles’ third-line center now on the wing and with both Matt Martin and Tom Kuhnhackl hitting the IR, it’s time to see what Koivula brings to the NHL level.
While most other teams have been suffering at the hands of this season’s NHL schedule, the Islanders are benefiting from some time off.
After taking all three games in a four-day span, the Islanders have off until this Friday against Tampa Bay and then following that up with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
Koivula rotating with Bardreau in drills at #Isles practice. Ladd rotating in on Cizikas line. Don’t see Noah Dobson on the ice today. Also still no Komarov or Eberle.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) October 30, 2019
The extra time off would help the more injured players like Casey Cizikas and Jordan Eberle get more comfortable at practice. Both players’ condition hasn’t improved much since Barry Trotz provided an update prior to the Islanders’ recent road trip.
It’s worth noting that Tanner Fritz remains injured for the moment and may have been the first choice for a recall given his 42 games of NHL experience and how he looked before a blood clot ended his 2018-19 season.
Koivula will likely center the fourth line on Friday, and given how well Cole Bardreau has impressed in his time here fans will look for the same from the touted center.