The New York Islanders have been one of the best teams in the league, surprising virtually everyone. Everything appears to be going right for the Isles, but they still face the injury bug. Top players have either been sidelined for long periods, and have not regained top form, or are stuck rehabbing on the sidelines.
Andrew Ladd has been out for most of his tenure with the New York Islanders. He returned for a brief stint last winter, but tore his ACL and is still recovering from that injury. Ladd is not close to the top player he was in Chicago or Winnipeg, but can still have a productive bottom-six role. He began conditioning with the Sound Tigers last weekend. Lou Lamoriello placed Ladd on waivers on November 14th. Unfortunately, no team picked up Ladd, and the Islanders remain on the hook for his ridiculous contract. Ladd’s deal is nowhere near complete with 3+ years remaining, and virtually buyout proof. The best option that remains is that Ladd stays in Bridgeport. By him playing for the Sound Tigers, the Isles will save one million dollars per year off his deal. Lamoriello sent Ladd down to the AHL, claiming that Ladd is not ready for NHL competition, but he will likely remain across the Sound long-term.
After being placed on the IR for a lower-body injury, Jordan Eberle missed ten games and has been unnoticeable since his return. Eberle is one of the most talented players on the Islanders, and the team relies on his offensive output. However, Eberle has yet to score his first goal of the season. After the Ducks snapped the Islanders 17-game point streak, Barry Trotz was livid in his post-game press conference. Trotz warned the Islanders by saying “we’ve got to get a couple guys going. We’ve been patient with some guys, but we’ve got to get going here.” Trotz did not name Eberle in his comment, but it’s pretty apparent that Ebs was one of the Islanders that Trotz was mentioning due to his lack of production. Jordan Eberle needs to step up for the Islanders.
Nick Leddy has only missed four games this season, but he’s been experiencing a nagging lower-body injury. Leddy’s number one attribute is his speed. If he is playing through a foot, leg, or knee injury, Leddy is a much less version of himself as he will be unable to interrupt breakaway opportunities or provide an offensive threat with his speed down the wing. Nick Leddy is arguably the Islanders 2nd best puck-handler, behind Mathew Barzal. Leddy is one of the quarterbacks on the Islanders power-play units, and losing him would be a big hit to the Islanders already weak PP. The only bright side to Nick Leddy’s injury is that it allows Noah Dobson to get more game action. Dobson has played very well for the Isles thus far but struggles to find consistent minutes behind a stellar defense. Dobson and Leddy are similar players with their smooth skating and ability to lead the offense, but Leddy has more experience in crunch time. Nick Leddy will not be out long-term, but the Islanders must get him back fully healthy.