BUFFALO - Lou Lamoriello sat alone in the KeyBank Center stands watching his Islanders go through their morning skate before Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Sabres. The notoriously secretive president and general manager is not tipping his hand before the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 25.
Top-line center Brock Nelson, an impending unrestricted free agent on a one-year, $4.25-million deal, wouldn’t mind knowing his future. But he’s not stressing over it, either.
“It’s just kind of playing hockey and seeing how things go,” said Nelson, adding his expectation is to remain with the Islanders past the trade deadline. “Everybody is happy with being here and winning games and we’d like that to continue.”
Nelson’s linemates, captain Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle, as well as goalie Robin Lehner are also impending UFAs.
LW Andrew Ladd (injured reserve/believed to be foot or ankle) and D Thomas Hickey (IR/believed to be a head injury) are not on this two-game trip because staying in New York meant more ice time this week. The Islanders do not have a practice scheduled for Wednesday in Columbus while Ladd and Hickey skated on Tuesday and will also do so on Wednesday and Thursday.
There was a moment of silence prior to the opening faceoff to mark the 10th anniversary of the crash of Continental Flight 3407, en route from Newark to Buffalo on Feb. 12, 2009. Forty-nine people on board and one person on the ground were killed when the turbojet stalled and crashed in a Buffalo suburb.
RW Cal Clutterbuck logged 14:38 with an assist as he returned after missing two games with an unspecified injury. He exited Thursday night’s 2-1 shootout win at New Jersey in the second period after clipping legs with Nico Hischier…D Luca Sbisa and Fs Ross Johnston and Tom Kuhnhackl were the healthy scratches.