Samuel Bolduc recalled by Islanders to replace injured Sebastian Aho
Lane Lambert almost never reveals lineup decisions. But the coach made no attempt to hide Samuel Bolduc’s inclusion for injured defenseman Sebastian Aho when the Islanders face the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night at UBS Arena.
Bolduc, who made his NHL debut in a six-game stint from Jan. 25-Feb. 9, was recalled from the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport on Monday. He took Aho’s spot both paired with Noah Dobson and quarterbacking the second power-play unit.
Parker Wotherspoon, a healthy scratch the last 23 games, again skated as an extra during Monday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow.
“It’s a situational thing,” Lambert said. “Bolduc is a power-play [player]. Parker is not. Parker has done a great job and continues to work hard.”
Lambert said Aho, who has set career highs this season with 66 games, five goals and 16 assists, is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Aho exited Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Sharks, which concluded a 2-1-0 California trip, in the first period after taking a high hit from Kevin Labanc.
The Islanders (36-27-8) are battling the Penguins and Panthers for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. The Maple Leafs (42-18-9), on a 4-1-1 run, are all but locked into either second or third place in the Atlantic Division and a first-round playoff matchup against the Lightning.
The 6-4, 220-pound Bolduc, a second-round pick in 2019, had one goal in his initial NHL stint. He has 10 goals and 25 assists in 56 games with Bridgeport and was named an AHL All-Star.
“He’s an offensive guy who moves the puck,” Lambert said. “I liked what I saw out of him today on the power play on the second unit up top. He’s a big guy who, when he uses his size, is a pretty steady player. But I really like him on the power play and getting pucks through.”
The Islanders are 1-for-14 on the power play in their last four games, with the second unit’s Ryan Pulock scoring on the man advantage against the Sharks.
“They tell me to shoot, so I’ll shoot as much as I can,” Bolduc said. “I’ll just keep it simple. If I see a guy open, I’ll try to give him a pass and move the puck around as much as we can. If I find a shooting lane open, take it.
“I have to improve some aspects in my game to stay in the lineup as much as I can. Just a few details like being a little more consistent and go quicker on pucks.”
Notes & quotes: Lambert said Mathew Barzal (suspected knee injury) has yet to resume skating. Barzal, injured Feb. 18, will miss his 13th game and remains week-to-week . . . Otto Koivula was reassigned to Bridgeport . . . Pierre Engvall will face his former team for the first time since the Islanders acquired him from the Maple Leafs on Feb. 28 for a third-round pick in 2024. Engvall brings a four-game point streak into Tuesday’s match.