Islanders center Austin Czarnik looks on against the Golden Knights...

 Islanders center Austin Czarnik looks on against the Golden Knights in the third period of an NHL game at UBS Arena on Dec. 19, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Trying to find a good fit on playmaker Mathew Barzal’s right wing has become an unintentional season-long search for Islanders coach Barry Trotz.

It certainly has been a revolving door of late.

Austin Czarnik earned a second straight look as the Islanders faced the Maple Leafs on Saturday night at UBS Arena after the taxi squad callup scored a goal in Friday night’s 4-0 win over the Coyotes to open a seven-game homestand.

But, in order, Zach Parise, Kieffer Bellows and Josh Bailey were in that spot the previous three games as Trotz seeks the right chemistry. Kyle Palmieri started the season on the top line and may get another shot once he’s activated off injured reserve. Bailey, too, has spent long stretches on that line. But Palmieri has just one goal this season and only one of Bailey’s three goals has come as Barzal’s linemate.

Czarnik, a 29-year-old who has had previous up-and-down stops between the NHL and AHL in both the Bruins and Flames’ organizations, entered Saturday with two goals and three assists in 10 games for the Islanders this season. With each chance to play, he’s earned another one by playing responsible defensively, providing some grit and some offense.

To be fair, Czarnik isn’t expected to be the long-term answer as the Islanders seek a replacement for Jordan Eberle – selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft – to complete the top trio with Barzal and captain Anders Lee. Then again, Trotz used grinder Leo Komarov on the top line for the bulk of last season’s playoff run with Lee injured.

Trotz has been reluctant to give sharpshooter Oliver Wahlstrom, benched in the third period against the Coyotes, a long look, citing the difficulties of adjusting to playing with Barzal.

Trotz meant no slight toward Barzal. But Barzal’s unique skating ability and penchant for playing with the puck on his stick for long stretches can be a tough adjustment for any wing.

Even Lee, whose offensive output is predicated on his strong play around the crease, needed time to learn to what worked best skating with Barzal.

"Looking back, I guess I would say you see how often Barzy touches and holds the puck and how he creates space and the way he sees the ice," Lee said. "It’s very different from a lot of players. Your touches might be in different spots, they might be a little bit less frequent. But when you do get them, he’s putting you in a pretty good spot to have a chance.

"So, finding those soft areas. Understanding that. Reading off of him. You just try to be a step ahead of the opposition. I think he gives you that opportunity quite often."

Parise had his one-game cameo on Barzal’s line in Tuesday’s 4-3, nine-round shootout win at Philadelphia. But the hard-skating Parise, a top-six forward with both the Devils and Wild who has settled into a third-line role with the Islanders while entering Saturday with one goal, did not have a shot against the Flyers.

Bellows had one shot in Monday’s 4-1 win over the Flyers at UBS Arena but Trotz said after the game he didn’t think the two clicked on ice.

If Palmieri, who had five straight seasons of notching at least 24 goals with the Devils and is in the first season of a four-year, $20 million deal, cannot regain his scoring touch when he returns from his lower-body injury, it might compel president and general manager Lou Lamoriello to comb the trade market for a scoring wing.

The trade deadline is March 21.

But, surely, the Islanders want a long-term solution before then.

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