Hudson Fasching ‘on same page’ and thriving with Islanders

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Hudson Fasching Islanders
New York Islanders forward Hudson Fasching (20) is trailed by Florida Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling (42) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Elmont, N,Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)

Successfully assimilating to a new team isn’t something Hudson Fasching is all that familiar with.

“I’ve been through the call-up process a lot,” he said on Wednesday morning after Islanders practice. “It’s uncomfortable.”

The 27-year-old forward hadn’t been able to carve out his niche in the NHL since being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 2013, playing 38 games with the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes from 2015-2022 where he recorded just one goal and two assists. 

Brought on as a free agent by the Islanders in August, this is the closest thing to a perfect match as Fasching has seen in the pros. Called up after a slew of injuries, the Minnesota product has two goals and an assist in nine games with a plus-5 rating.

“I felt like we were kind of already in line. So that was the nice part,” Fasching said about adjusting to life with the Islanders. “They’re a detail-oriented team that wants to make sure we play high-percentage hockey… I feel like a real big part of my game is being strong on the forecheck so I think it was kind of natural. So it’s kind of nice to get into this organization and have been on the same page.”

He’s played across head coach Lane Lambert’s line chart in his brief stint with the team. During Tuesday’s 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, he double-shifted on the first line with Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey and the fourth line with Matt Martin and Aatu Räty after Oliver Wahlstrom was forced to leave early with a perceived upper-body injury.

“It feels great [that the team has that] kind of confidence in me,” Fasching said. “It was a lot of fun to get some shifts with Barzal and Bailey. I’ll play wherever. That’s kind of my mindset.”

He was on the ice for two of the Islanders’ goals — a second-period wrist shot deflected by Barzal before weaving through the Pittsburgh defense from behind the net that ultimately led to a second for New York’s star center.

“He’s got a good head for the game so he’s easy to play with,” Barzal said. 

“I’m really impressed,” defenseman Noah Dobson added. “I didn’t know much about him but I think ever since he’s been in there, he’s a force.”

The 6-foot-3 winger certainly fits the Islanders’ mold. He’s a strong, physical skater with an underlying skillset that can create some unsuspected offensive opportunities.

The Penguins learned the hard way on Tuesday night — and a difficult decision awaits the Islanders regarding his future with the NHL club when injured wingers like Kyle Palmieri or Cal Clutterbuck are ready to return to the fold.

“He’s a really heady player and he has a really great offensive instinct,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “So it’s great to see him come in and show that immediately. He’s played some really great hockey.”

For more on the Islanders and Hudson Fasching, visit AMNY.com