Brutal news from the Island: Anders Lee is likely out for the year, as Arthur Staple first reported, with a broken leg from a Johnny Boychuk shot last night. (The Sound Tigers have never been specific, but presumably that’s the same thing that happened to Andrew Rowe from a Ryan Pulock shot on Feb. 16.)
If the same forwards sit out the rest of the regular season as sat out last night at the Garden — Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck (supposedly both day-to-day) and Mikhail Grabovsky (not) — with Lee joining them, the Islanders would be in the emergency; that is, 11 healthy forwards. That’d be one free recall of a forward. They also have two regular recalls to play with before the end of the regular season (Pulock and Scott Mayfield being the first two).
One call-up seems a safe bet. Two wouldn’t be crazy.
So, who? You probably start with Bracken Kearns, who has been their best two-way forward this year and who, though it’s tough to crack the top two in the league, I hope got at least cursory all-star consideration. He’s a veteran, he’s been there and he’s been around. (There are a few angles to write about Kearns, and while trying to figure out which one I wanted to take for next week, Paul took care of one of them.) You get the same kind of thing from James Wright, who has been offensively productive lately with Kearns and on the power play. Alan Quine makes a lot of sense, giving him his first look after a strong and much-improved season. Mike Halmo has also been there and had a good second half. And Ben Holmstrom and Justin Florek give you experience and defensive responsibility.(If he hadn’t been out almost a month and a half, toss Marc-Andre Cliche in that list.)
It’s also not inconceivable that the Islanders go with seven defensemen, but call-ups seem more likely.
We’ll see what may come down by tonight’s game in Hershey. (Liveblog here later.) If there’s no official news, at least, see what the lineup looks like. Transactions could well mean the pro debut of Kyle Schempp.
And, you know, magic number seven, etc.
Tip of cap, meanwhile, to Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos, winner of the Fred T. Hunt Award for sportsmanship, perseverance and determination.