The Islanders are on the verge of losing a fourth member from last season’s Eastern Conference finalists.
Third-liner Derick Brassard reportedly will sign a one-year deal with the Coyotes, leaving the Islanders with several options to fill his role.
Brassard, 33, had 10 goals and 22 assists in 66 regular-season games and added two goals and six assists in 18 postseason games on a one-year, $1.2 million deal after splitting 2018-19 between the Penguins, Panthers and Avalanche. Brassard toggled between center and wing before blending well with fellow Ottawa-area native Jean-Gabriel Pageau after the Islanders acquired the center from the Senators at the trade deadline.
Also this offseason, defenseman Devon Toews was traded to the Avalanche for cap reasons, defenseman Johnny Boychuk announced he is unable to continue his career because of an eye injury and goalie Thomas Greiss signed with the Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent.
The Islanders need more scoring help on the wing and do have a pool of prospects expected to come to training camp, which opens on Sunday. The Islanders begin their season on Jan. 14 against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Former first-rounders Kieffer Bellows, Oliver Wahlstrom, Josh Ho-Sang or Simon Holmstrom could use the opportunity to secure a regular role in the NHL. Otto Koivula, 22, is a natural center but could possibly be tried as a wing.
Or, Brassard’s departure could open more ice time for Michael Dal Colle or burly Ross Johnston even if Matt Martin, as expected, re-signs as a UFA.
Dmytro Timashov, who still needs to be signed as a restricted free agent after being acquired from the Red Wings, played 44 games in a bottom-six role with the Maple Leafs and Detroit last season.
Austin Czarnik, who signed a two-year deal as a UFA, has 121 games of NHL experience with the Flames and Bruins.
Or, Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello could look to sign one of the remaining UFAs, though his priority is locking up RFA Mathew Barzal to a new deal.
And, of course, Leo Komarov and Andrew Ladd remain on the roster.
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