No lineup decisions need to be made now. But Islanders coach Barry Trotz anticipates having to make them as left wing Andrew Ladd and defenseman Thomas Hickey continue progressing in their recoveries from their long-term injuries.
The pair skated in orange, non-contact jerseys at the team’s optional morning skate for the second straight day before Saturday night’s 4-2 victory over the Kings at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.
Ladd, recovering from what is believed to be an ankle or foot injury, missed his 32nd game since Nov. 15 and Hickey, who may be dealing with a head injury, missed his 18th game since Dec. 18.
“It will be a tough decision,” said Trotz, who has said previously he does not believe players should lose their roles to injuries. “At some point, you’re going to have to put [them] in to get [them] up to speed. There will be some sacrifices you may have to make. Maybe they go down [to AHL Bridgeport] for conditioning. We haven’t even gotten to that point yet.”
Trotz would like the depth their returns would bolster, even if he doesn’t reinsert them into the lineup.
Rookie Devon Toews has established himself on a third pair with Scott Mayfield in Hickey’s absence and rookie Michael Dal Colle is currently filling Ladd’s third-line spot.
The Islanders are 6-1-2 at the Coliseum … Center Casey Cizikas added to his career high with his 12th goal … Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov was fined $5,000, the maximum allowable in the collective-bargaining agreement, for his “dangerous trip” against Mayfield at 16:11 of the first period of the Islanders’ 1-0 shootout loss Friday night at the Coliseum. He slew-footed Mayfield … Both of Dal Colle’s NHL goals have been winners … Defenseman Luca Sbisa and forwards Tom Kuhnhackl and Ross Johnston remained healthy scratches.