The perceived need for scoring was not as important as filling the immediate holes in the roster.
This, essentially, was Lou Lamoriello’s reasoning for calling up Cole Bardreau and Hudson Fasching from AHL Bridgeport to potentially serve as proxies for injured regulars Kyle Palmieri and Cal Clutterbuck.
“They’re positional recalls,” Lamoriello explained during his media availability prior to the start of the Islanders’ practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow on Thursday. Both Bardreau and Fasching practiced, but Lamoriello would not unequivocally say that the duo would be in the lineup for Friday night’s game at UBS Arena against the Nashville Predators.
Bardreau has compiled a 5-4-9 slash line in 19 games at Bridgeport, and Fasching has recorded 10 points (seven goals and three assists) in 18 games.
“They played extremely well and [consistently] through the whole season in the role that they would come in with the injuries, if that is the case,” Lamoriello said.
The promotions of Bardreau and Fasching coincide with existing injuries to Palmieri and Clutterbuck. Palmieri, the Smithtown native, has not played since the Islanders’ 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs on Nov. 21 in Toronto while Clutterbuck only played 4:11 in Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Flyers in Philadelphia.
Lamoriello revealed Palmieri was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 21 and Clutterbuck is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, but the team president stressed the winger’s current ailment is not related to the shoulder injury which prematurely ended his 2021-22 campaign.
When asked specifically if either had skated, Lamoriello demurred, saying, “When they’re healthy, they’re healthy.”
During practice, Fasching replaced Palmieri on the third line and Bardreau cycled in on the fourth line with Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Ross Johnston.
Josh Bailey attempted to practice but left early, and was not in the dressing room when it was opened to reporters. It seems likely that he will miss his second straight game. Simon Holmstrom skated on the top line with Mathew Barzal and Oliver Wahlstrom.
“He’s still one of the younger [players] we have but he’s played extremely well,” Lamoriello said of Holmstrom, who has played four games with the Islanders this season and has recorded one assist.
Entering Friday night’s match against the Predators, the Islanders (15-9-0, 30 points) have scored 78 goals in 24 games, an average of 3.25 goals per game. However, of those 78 goals, 59 have come at even strength, which averages out to 2.45 goals per game at five-on-five.
Neither Lamoriello nor Lane Lambert expressed concern about the even-strength offense.
When asked directly by Newsday if there had been any consideration given to promoting Aatu Raty (4-4-8 in 18 games) from Bridgeport, Lamoriello reiterated that the immediate need was to fill the vacancies left by Palmieri and Clutterbuck.
“I’d rather not get into anything [regarding] considerations,” Lamoriello said. “It was positional call-ups. We could have called up other people in different positions but that’s not the need right now. It’s a positional need and also warranted on the way they have played throughout the season.”
When specifically asked about the Islanders’ five-on-five metrics, Lambert said, “There’s certainly aspects of those things that have value and there [are] other aspects that don’t have value.”