PITTSBURGH — Pierre Engvall’s integration into the Islanders has not gone as smoothly as Bo Horvat’s did a month ago.
Engvall, acquired ahead of the trade deadline from the Maple Leafs at the cost of a 2024 third-round pick, saw his playing time severely limited in the third period of Tuesday’s win over the Sabres, with just two shifts in the those final 20 minutes.
That, according to coach Lane Lambert, is a product of growing pains within the Islanders’ system, which the Swedish winger is still learning.
“There was some certain things he’s still getting used to,” Lambert said. “He’s new into the fold. It always takes a little bit of time for a guy coming in like that after having played on another team for quite a while.”
Engvall started Thursday’s match against the Penguins back on the top line with Horvat and Anders Lee, a spot the Islanders hope he can stick in until Mathew Barzal returns from a suspected knee injury.
Over his first two games with the Islanders, though, Engvall’s impact there has been largely minimal.
“I think it’s just, try and take in as much as you can,” Engvall said. “But at the same time, you just gotta play your game. Don’t worry too much about it, just go out there and have fun. Do as best as you can.”
With the Leafs, Engvall played mostly in a bottom-six role, averaging 13:08 time on ice.
At the moment at least, the Islanders need more from him as they work through a series of injuries.
Engvall said he’s trying not to overthink but play with his instincts.
“That’s what you gotta do,” he said. “Just gotta go out there and play as best you can. You can’t go out there and think about exactly how we’re gonna play. That’s gotta take care of itself. It’s a little bit similar to what I’m used to so I think it feels good.”
Cal Clutterbuck and Jean-Gabriel Pageau both skated with the team Thursday morning, though neither played against the Penguins.
Both are still considered day-to-day, according to Lambert.
It was Clutterbuck’s first time skating with the team since he left a game against the Sabres on Jan. 19 and Pageau’s second since he got hurt against the Canadiens on Feb. 11.
“It’s always good when you see these guys starting to practice with us,” Casey Cizikas said. “I’ve been in that position before. It’s not fun skating by yourself. You kind of feel apart from the team. When you get out on the ice with the rest of the guys, that feeling, that itch, that anticipation of getting back out there, it pushes you even more.”