Anders Lee cautioned against reading too much into the line assignments last weekend on the first day of Islanders training camp.
"Still early," he said when asked if he took note that he was skating with John Tavares.
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It's not quite so early anymore, however, and Lee is still riding shotgun with Tavares on the top line through a week of preseason games. Lee, Tavares and Ryan Strome were the top trio for the Isles' game yesterday against the Hurricanes in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with Strome and Tavares scoring goals in the 5-3 loss.
This was the second game that the line played together and, with the first wave of roster cuts coming down, it's certainly looking like that line could be one that is on the ice for the opening faceoff of the season on Oct. 9.
Lee and Strome had some success playing with Tavares last season, particularly after Kyle Okposo went down with an eye injury in January.
"We had some chemistry last year so it's always good to play with Johnny," Strome said earlier in the week. "You're still out there working on things, trying to get your game in shape, but it's nice to know you've had that success before."
The Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck fourth line will almost certainly be intact for the start of the season. So if Lee-Tavares-Strome clicks, that's one less line for Capuano and his staff to worry about.
Notes & quotes: The Islanders cut 22 players, eight of whom need waivers to be sent to Bridgeport's AHL camp. The biggest names were goalie Kevin Poulin and forward Taylor Beck, acquired from the Leafs in the Michael Grabner deal. If they clear waivers on today they will be in Bridgeport. Veteran Matt Carkner was released from his tryout, but he will play for the Sound Tigers this season.