Overcast 52° Good Morning
Overcast 52° Good Morning

Islanders need quick replacement for Michael Grabner

Michael Grabner of the Islanders skates against the

Michael Grabner of the Islanders skates against the Rangers in the first period. (March 7, 2013) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Despite their decent track record of scoring goals this season -- the Islanders entered Tuesday's games 11th in the NHL with 2.88 goals per game -- the Islanders have had a handful of players leading the goal charge.

One of them is out of action. Michael Grabner suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Penguins, leaving him and his 10 goals this season on the shelf for a minimum of seven to 10 days.

Though the Islanders are optimistic he won't be out longer, they still need to find some supplemental scoring.

"If we need to win a 2-1 or 3-2 game, then that's what we need," Jack Capuano said. "If we get into a situation with power plays where we need some goals, then yeah, some guys need to find their touch here for us."

General manager Garth Snow headed to Bridgeport Tuesday to scout the Sound Tigers for a potential replacement for Grabner to join the Islanders on their two-game Florida swing, beginning Thursday in Tampa. David Ullstrom, who has been up with the big club all season but a healthy scratch seven of the past 14 games, played in Bridgeport Tuesday; Nino Niederreiter and John Persson, two other prospects who have played well in the AHL at times, could get consideration.

But the Islanders might have a familiar face available to fill in on the wing. Jesse Joensuu, the Islanders' 2006 second-round pick who re-signed after spending the 2011-12 season in Europe, practiced for the first time this season and could be ready to return shortly.

Joensuu played in his native Finland during the lockout and suffered a sports hernia. He's currently on the suspended list but is likely a more attractive depth option than a Bridgeport call-up.

"He's pain-free, he's had some good skates with our skills coach," Capuano said. "If he's had enough of those, he could go in Thursday."

Keith Aucoin, who scored four goals in the first seven games but has been a healthy scratch the past seven, will likely get back into the lineup Thursday.

Also on the mend is defenseman Matt Carkner, out since Feb. 7 with a lower-body injury. He had his first full practice since his injury.

New York Sports