The second Islanders training camp group is taking the ice Friday afternoon, so here’s how that one looks:
Anders Lee — Ryan Strome — Josh Bailey
Jason Chimera — Brock Nelson — Josh Ho-Sang
Carter Verhaeghe — Bracken Kearns — Tanner Fritz
Eric Boulton — Kyle Schempp — Colin Markison
Adam Pelech — Travis Hamonic
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Parker Wotherspoon — Loic Leduc
Mitchell Vande Sompel — David Quenneville
The biggest takeaway from this group is seeing Strome at center. Garth Snow and Jack Capuano said they wanted to see him there after last season’s misadventures, so Friday is the day to get that going.
Strome admitted Thursday he’ll have to get reacquainted with his natural center spot, having played primarily wing in his first three pro seasons. But perhaps being reunited with Lee, with whom Strome was very productive (along with Nelson on the Kid Line) in 2014-15, will kickstart the process.
Chimera is an interesting case. He has the speed to play just about anywhere, even at 37. He got some power play time in Washington last season, though that could be at a premium with this Isles group. He and Nelson, perhaps with Bailey as their eventual third piece, would make for a compelling middle-six line.
It seems Leddy and Hamonic are penciled in as the top defense pair, so splitting them up to play with two of the younger guys auditioning for a top-six role makes sense. Pelech showed he could play his off side last season, but now he’s back on the left. With Leddy, Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey, the left side seems pretty set, so Pelech will have to show quite a bit to be considered for a roster spot.
Among the lesser-known group, Wotherspoon continues to receive praise from those in the organization who watch him. He came up to Bridgeport at the end of last season and opened some eyes. Considering he turned 19 just last month he’s still a ways off from turning pro, but he’ll be a good prospect by then for sure.