Islanders’ Arnaud Durandeau could make NHL debut

PITTSBURGH — The Islanders may be giving another prospect his NHL debut on Monday. 

That is because Mathew Barzal’s status is in doubt for a pivotal match against the Penguins after he left Saturday’s 6-2 loss to the Bruins just 6:01 into the match after taking a hit from Craig Smith. The Islanders are already down Josh Bailey and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, with neither expected to travel to Pittsburgh. 

So, the Islanders called up Arnaud Durandeau from AHL Bridgeport on Sunday. No corresponding move was needed since the roster was at just 22 players prior to the move. 

The 24-year-old Durandeau has yet to play an NHL game, but is in the midst of a stellar season in Bridgeport with 33 points in 38 games. The Islanders have also called up Otto Koivula and William Dufour at points this season, but after Koivula struggled in his audition this past week, they went with Durandeau this time. 

Without Pageau or Barzal in the lineup, though, the Islanders — a team whose depth down the middle is usually one of its best attributes — will have a depth issue at forward. In addition to Durandeau, Andy Andreoff — another player who is usually in the AHL — is on the roster right now. Ross Johnston, who has skated in just 12 games this season, is also likely to play Monday. 

Arnaud Durandeau
The Islanders called up Arnaud Durandeau on Sunday.
Getty Images

Arnaud Durandeau
Arnaud Durandeau could be in line for his NHL debut.
Getty Images

On Saturday, the Isles rotated their lines for much of the game after Barzal exited, though Anders Lee, Bo Horvat and Kyle Palmieri made up a relatively consistent first line. Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Hudson Fasching also played together for much of the game. 

If the Isles go with just 11 forwards and seven defensemen, then Parker Wotherspoon would presumably draw into the lineup. 

Wotherspoon had a 12-game run in the lineup for about a month, but hasn’t played since a Jan. 21 loss to the Hurricanes. The Isles’ defense corps, though, has largely struggled over the past week and Wotherspoon’s steadiness and poise could help. 

Of course, if Barzal is healthy, then the conversation is moot. 

“I do not have any update, no,” Lambert said following the loss to Boston, when asked about Barzal’s status. 

With Monday being a massive game for the Islanders, it’s a relatively safe bet that Barzal will play if he can. But the extent of his injury is unknown. 

Ilya Sorokin is likely to start in net for the Islanders on Monday. 

The Islanders were off on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

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