The Islanders’ opening night roster is close to being set.
But there are still a couple of spots to be determined before the regular-season opener on Thursday night at Carolina.
“We’re going to go right to the end, see how waivers plays out,” coach Barry Trotz said after Sunday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow, adding president and general manager Lou Lamoriello was still exploring potential trades or waiver claims. “I know Lou is working hard on it, he’s spent a lot of time on the phone the last couple of days.”
The Islanders must submit their initial 23-man roster 48 hours before facing off against the Hurricanes.
Trotz acknowledged he has three forward lines set: Mathew Barzal centering a top line with left wing Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey and center Brock Nelson on the second line with left wing Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle. Trotz will also open the season with the reunited line of re-acquired Matt Martin with center Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck.
That leaves offseason acquisitions Leo Komarov, Valtteri Filppula and Tom Kuhnhackl as well as returners Tanner Fritz and Ross Johnston battling for fourth-line ice time. But Trotz said Komarov, 31, the ex-Maple Leaf wing who signed a four-year, $12-million deal, has secured a regular role as well.
Both Fritz, 27, who had three goals and four assists in 34 games for the Islanders last season, and Filppula, 31, can play wing or center. Fritz has cleared waivers but remained with the team and Trotz has repeatedly praised his training camp performance.
“Going through waivers was just part of the process for me,” Fritz said. “I’m trying to take advantage of every opportunity I get to be in the NHL.”
Defensively, Trotz has settled on four pairs: Adam Pelech with Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey and Johnny Boychuk, Luca Sbisa and Nick Leddy and rookie Devon Toews with Scott Mayfield as the likely extra pair.
“It doesn’t mean Toews can’t go in for someone, or Mayfield can’t go in for someone,” Trotz said.
Trotz said it has yet to be determined whether the Islanders will carry seven or eight blue-liners.
Notes & quotes: Cizikas participated in practice and both he and Trotz said he was fine after exiting Friday night’s 5-4 loss to the Sabres in Oshawa, Ontario in the second period after being checked into the glass by defenseman Jake McCabe. “It was frustrating but I’m fine now,” Cizikas said . . . Left wing Andrew Ladd (tightness) missed his 11th straight practice.