NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For now, Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello is comfortable with carrying one player under the maximum 23 on the roster.
Extra forward Nikita Soshnikov cleared waivers and was loaned to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport on Thursday. Lamoriello made no corresponding move before Friday night’s 5-4 loss to the Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
“We’re in a good position as far as, fortunately, we’re healthy,” Lamoriello said. “It gives you the flexibility that if there is something you’d like to do you can do it quickly without maneuvering your roster.”
Soshnikov, 29, returning to North America after three seasons back home in Russia playing in the KHL, dressed in just three games for the Islanders without notching a point.
It leaves the Islanders with just one extra forward. Josh Bailey was a healthy scratch for the second straight game against the Predators.
“We had confidence in [the forwards],” Lamoriello said. “Right now, we’re getting the goals that we need to be getting.”
Yet Ross Johnston, in for Bailey because of his physical presence, did not play after 9:23 of the second period and the Predators ahead 4-1.
“We needed offense,” coach Lane Lambert said. “We needed to shorten the bench.”
The Islanders lost forward Kieffer Bellows when the Flyers claimed him off waivers on Oct. 27. Lamoriello had fewer concerns Soshnikov, who played 87 games for the Maple Leafs and Blues from 2016-18, would be claimed.
“I thought he would clear,” Lamoriello said. “He hasn’t played here in the States for a few years. He hasn’t played for us other than a couple of games. We’ve got three games this weekend in Bridgeport so he’ll get some ice time.”
The Predators are on a 10-1-1 streak overall against the Islanders, who have not won at Bridgestone Arena since Oct. 28, 2017.