John Tavares skated with Andrew Ladd and PA Parenteau during the Islanders’ practice Friday, and those three likely will be together for tomorrow’s preseason finale in Washington.
Entering Thursday night’s regular-season opener, the three will have been on the ice together only a handful of times. That doesn’t leave much time for chemistry lessons for what has been penciled in as the Islanders’ top line pretty much since Ladd and Parenteau signed as free agents in the first two days of July.
“[It] will be good just getting to know where Johnny’s going to be,” Ladd said. “All players are different, especially offensively. He’s probably a guy who wants a little more space, take guys one-on-one in the corner, stuff like that. Just getting a feel for where he’s going to be in certain situations and just have the ability to talk it out from there.”
The way Tavares — who joined the Islanders on Tuesday — ripped through the World Cup, helping Canada to the championship, you’d think the Isles’ captain would not need much time to find his bearings. This is his eighth Islanders season and seventh with Jack Capuano as his coach, so the only thing Tavares might have had to do was exchange a few introductory handshakes with his new teammates.
“I missed a couple weeks. It’s just good to be around,” he said. “I felt like I was missing out a little bit. Everybody’s really picked up where they left off last year, I’ve noticed the past couple days. The new guys are fitting in well and going to work. The familiarity with the coaching staff and the rest of the group is a big help. That helps the new guys fit right in as well.”
Friday also was the first day with a pared-down roster of 25 Islanders on the ice, very close to the 23-man roster they will need to set by Tuesday. Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal, two 19-year-old forwards, made it through the big round of Thursday cuts. Both had locker-room seats at Northwell Health Ice Center, right near the captain.
“A lot of skill, a lot of good young players right there, chomping at the bit for the opportunity,” Tavares said. “They’re going to be a big part of the team in the future. I’m not surprised about that.”
Notes & quotes: Defenseman Scott Mayfield cleared waivers and was assigned to Bridgeport. Forwards Shane Prince, Stephen Gionta and Eric Boulton sat out practice with lower-body injuries . . . Beauvillier skated on a line with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey in practice. Barzal skated as an extra forward with Alan Quine.