The Islanders got some extra help Monday morning.
No, not in the form of a trade — president and general manager Lou Lamoriello kept things quiet as the hours ticked down to the 3 p.m. deadline — but with the return of Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey.
Both were full participants in practice at Northwell Health Ice Center and are expected to be in the lineup Tuesday night against Calgary at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.
Ladd, who suffered a suspected ankle injury and hasn’t played since Nov. 13, “will be ready to go” against the Flames, coach Barry Trotz said. He’ll likely be on the second line in place of Tom Kuhnhackl.
Hickey, who missed 28 games with a suspected head injury, also said he is ready. He will be slotted in alongside Devon Toews, taking Scott Mayfield’s spot.
The decision to sit Mayfield wasn’t an easy one, Trotz said, calling the 26-year-old defenseman “most improved” and adding that he made three pivotal plays in the Islanders’ 4-0 win over Vancouver on Saturday night.
“I talked to [Mayfield] about that,” he said. “He may not be out tomorrow. It’s just more of a thing that [he and Hickey] do the same thing in terms of roles — penalty kill, late-game situations, that type of thing . . . I talked to him and said, ‘Hey, we’ve done it by committee all year.’ ”
Mayfield seemed to understand the decision.
“I have complete trust in the staff to make the right call to win the game,” he said. “It’s a hard decision. I don’t think it’s easy to pull someone out and put someone in, but to go on a deep run, you have to have that depth. You don’t want to be out of the lineup, but if that’s their decision, that’s what it is.”
The Islanders will face the Maple Leafs on Thursday night in the Coliseum return of John Tavares. On Friday night, they will host the Capitals, who are two points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Islanders.
The Islanders then will play the Flyers and Senators at the Coliseum. Eight of their next nine will be at home, four against divisional opponents.
“This could be — it might be a little premature to say this is where you win the division, but this is an important week for us with really good hockey players coming in and good tests,” Hickey said. “These could be playoff games. These are all teams that are right at the top of their division trying to set themselves up. These games are probably going to be a different intensity than we’ve seen.”
With Andrew Gross