Jack Capuano warned not to read too much into his line and defense combinations for the three groups assembled for Islanders training camp.
After three days of workouts, Capuano had to reassemble his players for Monday's preseason debut, a split-squad doubleheader against the Ottawa Senators in St. John's, Newfoundland.
But he's still warning against reading too much into what he and his staff have compiled.
"We're going to try some different things," Capuano said after Sunday's workouts at Nassau Coliseum. The two game rosters and staff were set to fly to St. John's Monday morning for games that begin at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time (3 p.m. and 7:30 local time).
Josh Bailey, who slogged through a difficult 2013-14, will get first crack at the coveted left wing spot alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo in the second game. Ryan Strome, the team's most talented NHL-ready prospect, will center 2014 first-round draft picks Michael Dal Colle and Joshua Ho-Sang in the afternoon opener.
Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, the Isles' marquee forward signings this past summer, will anchor a second line in the nightcap along with speedy Cory Conacher, a 5-8 forward who also signed this summer.
"We're trying to see where guys are," Capuano said. "Bails, Grabovski, Brock [Nelson] -- a few guys could get a look on Johnny's line. We'll put some combinations together and see what it looks like."
The only Isles regular from last season who won't make the trip to Canada is Matt Martin, who has been a fourth-line mainstay the past four seasons. Martin likely will play Wednesday at the Coliseum against the Hurricanes.
His regular linemates the past two seasons, Casey Cizikas and Colin McDonald, will skate in the afternoon game Monday with different lines.
Down the depth chart at forward, the competition for roles and playing time is fierce.
"I don't feel comfortable right now, and that's a good mind-set to have," said McDonald, who turns 30 next week. "We had a camp last year where it felt like guys pretty much knew what their roles would be. That's gone now, and I think we'll be a better team for it."
New No. 1 goaltender Jaroslav Halak will play in the night game, his first action as an Islander. Capuano has reunited two defensive pairings that could form his top four on the blue line, with Calvin de Haan and Travis Hamonic playing together and Lubomir Visnovsky paired with Thomas Hickey.
"The second game will have more of our vets," Capuano said, "but we've got some guys in the first group who are pushing people for jobs."