John Tavares and Kyle Okposo are expected to play together in 2014-15. Figuring out who will round out the Islanders’ top line has been an ongoing process though.
Cory Conacher, 24, will probably be the fourth player to audition for that role on Tuesday, per Newsday. Brock Nelson might follow despite his natural position being center. Of course, he wouldn’t be the first center to get a shot as offseason acquisition Mikhail Grabovski also skated alongside Tavares.
As coach Jack Capuano noted, the Islanders have a bit of a logjam up the middle, so they can afford to shift one of their centers.
Who rounds out that line is important, but at the same time, the Islanders have to hope that this doesn’t lead to a situation where Tavares and Okposo enters the season without much chemistry with their linemate.
“Everyone I’ve played with brings a lot of offense and can make plays, and that’s great. But everyone plays their own style of game, so it takes some adjustment,” Tavares said. “The more you’re familiar with that, it helps with the chemistry, the more you play together, practice together. So that can help. But the coaching staff is trying to mix things up and I want to be able to play with anyone, just play the way I know I can play no matter who’s with me.”