GAME DAY: Islanders at Capitals, 7pm

New York Islanders at Washington Capitals, 7pm ET
Washington, DC — Verizon Center — MSG+, CSW

The Islanders head to Washington tonight, two players lighter after yesterday’s trade deadline. Both Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau were shipped to Boston in what was a surprising move. Of all the names bandied about before the deadline, these two were certainly not in the conversation. Rolston had been passed through waivers over the weekend, his $5 million cap hit (albeit reduced at this late hour of the season) went unclaimed. Either as a Plan B after a deal for another player fell through, or as part of the deal in getting Mottau for next to nothing, the Bruins wanted Rolston as well, paying for him after they could have had him for free a day earlier. Credit to the General Manager for being able to get something for two players who were so unwanted that one through waivers and another just returning from injury after being out for a few months.

The interesting thing to watch now is of course free agency as both Evgeni Nabokov and PA Parenteau remained Islanders without contracts as the deadline passed. This doesn’t mean they’ll walk but it means Garth Snow did not feel he could get adequate value or that he had a good shot at signing them. This all will continue to play out over the next few months and now the push will be on to re-sign one or both. Losing both players to the free agent market would be a shot not only to a team that needs them, but to a team that can’t afford to lose assets for nothing.

With Rolston moving out of the lineup, Coach Jack Capuano shuffled the lines today to give some (but not all) of his young kids a shot. A surprise is both Josh Bailey and David Ullstrom moving up to the second line to be centered by Frans Nielsen. With five centers in the lineup, Bailey shifts to right wing. Ullstrom’s prominent position is a direct reflection of his play so far. He’s been the best call up from thus far but had a set back when he suffered a concussion in December. One of the kids that doesn’t get the benefit of Brian Rolston’s lineup spot opening up is Nino Niederreiter, who will be a healthy scratch tonight. Evgeni Nabokov will be in net.

Moulson – Tavares – Parenteau
Ullstrom – Nielsen – Bailey
Grabner – Cizikas – Okposo
Martin – Reasoner – Pandolfo

Streit – Staios
MacDonald – Hamonic
Eaton – Jurcina