We're five games into the NHL season, and it's fair to say that the Islanders do look better than many, including myself, were expecting. I believe that if Capuano wants them to make a serious push for a playoff spot, which is still quite the task, the lines need to be shuffled slightly. The Isles cannot afford to blow games with dead weight taking up a roster spot.
With Visnovsky coming to Long Island, and with the return of Bailey, I would advocate a few changes. Although I think Niederreiter still could probably use some more time in the AHL, he is simply too good to be down there right now. His size and speed, along with his goal scoring ability, would be much better on the first line.
Here is my lineup:
Moulson - Tavares - Niederreiter
Grabner - Aucoin - Boyes
Bailey - Nielsen - Okposo
Martin - Cizikas - Ullstrom
Scratches (in order): Joenssuu, Boulton, Reasoner
Streit - Visnovsky
Hamonic - MacDonald
Carkner - Strait
Scratches (in order): Hickey, Finley, Martinek
I believe that this balances out all three lines better, including leaving no line as a real defensive liability. Furthermore, I believe that our second and third line would definitely be able to put the puck in the net as well, and would have the ability to be a handful for other team's second and third defensive pairings over the course of 60 minutes. Lastly, our fourth line has really good size, doesn't mind dropping the gloves (Martin), and still actually has some skill. Should we need more grit, simply place Boulton into the lineup.
What do you guys think?