For maximum of the offseason, it was once assumed that Alexander Romanov will be the handiest new face in the Islanders’ opening night time lineup. On the eve of Thursday’s fit in opposition to the Panthers at UBS Arena, even though, it appears as even though there might be any other.
Nikita Soshnikov, who was once signed on the onset of coaching camp after spending the previous 3 seasons in Russia’s KHL, has been skating with Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin as section of the fourth line in observe this week. With Cal Clutterbuck on injured reserve and in doubt for Thursday with shoulder soreness, that suggests Soshnikov looks as if his most probably substitute.
“I think he fits well in that role,” head trainer Lane Lambert mentioned following Wednesday’s observe. “He’s fast, he’s physical. And he’s a pretty good penalty killer.”
Introducing a new face into the Identity Line — historically comprised of Martin, Cizikas and Clutterbuck with Ross Johnston because the default change when both winger is out of the lineup — is a compelling transfer through Lambert, although it’s handiest transient. Soshnikov, who’s indexed at 5-foot-11, 174 kilos, definitely has a bodily part to his sport. But all over the preseason, he’s proven his calling card to be skating and pace, with an excellent shot to move with it.
The extra offensive-minded sport he’s proven is a departure from the common M.O. of the fourth line, which made a identify for itself through taking part in bodily, forechecking hockey that didn’t produce many targets however made the Islanders a laborious group to play in opposition to.
“He’s definitely a different player than Marty and I,” Cizikas informed The Post. “That just brings a different element to what we do.” We’re now not gonna alternate our sport. We’re gonna proceed taking part in laborious, we’re gonna be bodily, we’re gonna try to create a little havoc available in the market and when he will get the puck, simply attempt to get open for him.”
Soshnikov, who performed with the Maple Leafs when Lamoriello was once the overall supervisor there, had 4 targets and 12 assists in 33 KHL video games final season with CSKA Moscow and Avangard Omsk.
“He skates really well,” Cizikas mentioned. “He’s got a good shot, he’s got good vision. He works hard. He’s willing to learn every chance he gets. … You can see as camp has gone on, he’s developed a kind of confidence out there where he knows he belongs.”
Lambert expects Scott Mayfield (sickness) to play Thursday.
Clutterbuck (shoulder soreness) skated on his personal sooner than Wednesday’s observe. He was once section of the 5th line — aka the Extras — with Johnston and Oliver Wahlstrom all over observe.