Hudson Fasching’s first appearance in an NHL game since April 4, 2022, with the Arizona Coyotes provided somewhat of an intimidating ask. He had to fill in for the injured Cal Clutterbuck on the New York Islanders fourth line — a trio that also includes Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas that has spent a majority of the last decade together.
“New organization new opportunities, right?” Fasching, who played 38 games across five seasons with the Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres, said (h/t Stefen Rosner, NYIHockeyNow). “Sometimes you wonder, is the grass greener? Or should I stay where I am kind of thing?
“It’s exciting to be in a new organization and have the honor to be called up.”
The 27-year-old right-winger didn’t need much time to acclimate to his new surroundings. He fit in seamlessly with Martin and Cizikas, logging two shots on three attempts with two hits and a blocked shot in 13:04 of ice time in the Islanders’ 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night.
He also provided a marauding power-forward style of play that included a high-danger pass from behind the net that found Martin in the right slot for a rare showing of offensive prowess from the line.
“Fasch played great. He stepped up and played a great game fitting into that grinder-type role,” Martin, who scored the Islanders’ opener in the second period, said of his new linemate. “Obviously, we miss Clutter and his presence on the line and on the penalty kill and in the locker room in general.
“But I thought Fasch was outstanding. We needed to pull together and find a way to win a game… and we did that.”
It remains unclear just how long Clutterbuck will be sidelined, but his upper-body injury has continued to keep him from skating with the team, per Islanders head coach Lane Lambert. For as long as he remains on the shelf, it certainly seems like Fasching will be the choice until Lambert is shown otherwise.
“I thought he played really well,” Lambert said. “What I saw was a real structural guy, knows his position, knows where to be, and I thought he used his big body to protect pucks, create scoring chances. He went to the net hard I thought he played very well.”