According to the Athletic’s Kevin Kurz, the New York Islanders will be short a few coaches and players tonight as they take on the New York Rangers at home (Link to Tweet). First and foremost, the team has placed forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Associate Coach Lane Lambert, and Assistant Coach Jim Hiller in COVID protocol. Though the team is only short one player for tonight, Lambert and Hiller represent half of the team’s coaching staff behind the bench, putting extra weight on the shoulders of Head Coach Barry Trotz. Seeing COVID-related absences surely gives the Islanders unpleasant flashbacks to November, when the team was without a large portion of its roster due to COVID.
Also missing from the Islanders lineup, unrelated to COVID protocol, is forward Anthony Beauvillier, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. It’s unclear when exactly Beauvillier’s injury occurred, as he logged 18:24 of ice-time against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, the Islanders’ last game. The team next plays Saturday afternoon on the road against the Buffalo Sabres.
In a corresponding move, the Islanders have recalled forward Otto Koivula on an emergency basis. Koivula has seen limited NHL time this year, with only five games played, the last on March 10th. In those five games, Koivula has just one assist, but the 23-year-old does have 12 goals and 35 assists in 56 games with the Bridgeport Islanders of the AHL this season. The forward is in the lineup tonight.
These transactions seemingly draw to a close a busy day of moves on the Island, with the team having placed defenseman Grant Hutton on waivers (link) and signing one of their top prospects William Dufour earlier in the day (link). For now, the Islanders will still have to focus on their game against the Rangers despite the missing pieces, but will be able to give Koivula another look in the NHL.