Simon Holmstrom makes solid NHL debut in Islanders win

Simon Holmstrom makes solid NHL debut in Islanders win

After the Islanders’ morning skate Wednesday, coach Lane Lambert was asked if he expected Kyle Palmieri, who had left the ice before special teams work, to play that night.

“Yeah, yeah,” Lambert said, adding that he thought Palmieri had a team problem.

It turns out Lambert was misinformed.

The Islanders later listed Palmieri as day-to-day with an upper-body injury as the team took the ice for warmups against the Oilers, led by Simon Holmstrom, who made his NHL debut Wednesday in night at the UBS Arena.

Holmstrom, the 23rd pick in 2019, skated on the first line with Mathew Barzal and Oliver Wahlstrom while Josh Bailey went to the third line, where Palmieri had played Monday in Toronto.

Holmstrom skated for 11:11 in the 3-0 victory, recording a blocked try in an error-free but mostly quiet debut. He then said he was briefed around 11 a.m., just after his morning skate at AHL Bridgeport, and then driven to Long Island.

Simon Holmstrom played well in his NHL debut in the Islanders’ 3-0 win over the Oilers.
Robert Sabo

“It was a really big surprise,” he said, “and I was really happy and excited to get here and play.”

Holmstrom, who didn’t impress much in training camp, started the season slowly in Bridgeport, with three goals and two assists in 15 games, but was clearly the first choice forward in a prospect pool that also includes Aatu . Räty, William Dufour and Ruslan Iskhakov, who was named AHL Rookie of the Month for October.

While Holmstrom isn’t expected to stay in the NHL (he was brought up on loan and the Islanders don’t have much reason to carry a No. 23 player once Palmieri is healthy), the move is notable for the players it goes for be selected He also impressed both Lambert and his teammates with his poise in the midst of a whirlwind situation.

“I thought he played very well,” said Jean-Gabriel Pageau. “He is a good boy who always wants to do his best. He had a good stick so many times on the ice today. He made some very nice passes. I was in the right place. It’s hard to do, to keep calm. He did that.”

Lambert clarified after the game that he had not spoken to the coaches before assuming Palmieri’s problem was a team problem. When asked when the injury occurred, his answer was unclear.

“He had that success in Toronto, obviously,” Lambert said. “He was fine as far as I was concerned. I was surprised. As surprised as you, I guess.”

The game was the Islanders’ first shutout against the Oilers since February 25, 1996.

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