Potential Forward Lines for Opening Night

We are halfway through the offseason, and the Islanders have been viewed as having one of the least productive offseasons in the NHL. After losing John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Islanders went out and boosted up their forward core by re-acquiring Matt Martin as well as signing Valtteri Filppula, Jan Kovar, Leo Komarov, and Tom Kuhnhackl. Adding those forwards to the current group makes it very difficult to create the finalized forward lines ahead of opening night. The defense and goaltending, however, are basically set in stone with the following to start the season.

Leddy-Boychuk

Hickey-Pulock

Mayfield-Pelech

Scratches: Toews

Lehner

Greiss

Here are just five of the many different combinations for the opening night forward lines.

Option 1: The Simple Option

Lee-Barzal-Eberle

Beauvillier-Nelson-Bailey

Ladd-Kovar-Komarov

Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Scratches: Filppula, Johnston

The easy answer for most people is what is above. The trio on the first line has been the three that have been brainstormed as the consensus first line going into the season, pending another move. The second line only makes sense, as Beauvillier was last season’s 2LW and Bailey will move down from last season on the first line. Nelson, on the other hand, is the one player on this team that continues to be the scapegoat, and he may end up being the second line center. The third line fills out with last year’s 3LW in Ladd along with two new acquisitions in Kovar and Komarov, and the fourth line leaves no questions for anyone to ask.

Option 2: The Stan Fischler Mentality

Lee-Barzal-Eberle

Ladd-Beauvillier-Bailey

Nelson-Kovar-Komarov

Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Scratches: Filppula, Johnston

On the latest episode of Destination Hockey, Stan Fischler predicted that Anthony Beauviller would slot as the second line center to start the season, and if that was to happen, I believe that Ladd would slot in on his left, and Nelson would slot in as the third line left wing.

Option 3: Get Flipper in the Lineup!

Lee-Barzal-Eberle

Beauvillier-Kovar-Bailey

Ladd-Filppula-Nelson

Martin-Cizikas-Komarov

Scratches: Clutterbuck, Johnston

Coming at the expense of scratching alternate captain Cal Clutterbuck, getting Valtteri Filppula in the lineup would be very beneficial offensive and defensively. Putting him in with Ladd, who is poised for his breakout campaign with the Islanders, and Nelson, who both have the ability to put the puck in the back of the net, could help him with his point production. He is also very strong on the penalty kill and is able to take over the faceoff circle, especially in the defensive end of the ice.

Option 4: Goon Squad

Lee-Barzal-Eberle

Ladd-Beauvillier-Bailey

Johnston-Kovar-Komarov

Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Scratches: Filppula, Nelson

Case closed. This would be one of the most entertaining lineups in the history of hockey up there with the Broad Street Bullies and the Big Bad Bruins. Every single line has at least one person who is capable of getting into a scruff, ranging from Lee to Martin. By far, this team would lead the league in both penalty minutes and entertaining fights.

Option 5: Believing in Kovar

Lee-Barzal-Eberle

Nelson-Kovar-Bailey

Ladd-Beauvillier-Komarov

Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Scratches: Filppula, Johnston

Jan Kovar has been a major success in the KHL for the past five seasons, and it looks like the Islanders are willing to give him a chance to produce in the NHL in an important role this season. Putting him with Bailey and Nelson could help not only himself, but Nelson too, to have very productive seasons.

3 thoughts on “Potential Forward Lines for Opening Night

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