Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Vanek back in for New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders probably aren’t quite sure of what to think of the Matt Moulson-Thomas Vanek swap quite yet because the player that they traded for really hasn’t had much opportunity to show what he can do.

After lacing up the skates as a member of the Islanders for six games, he has been forced out of the last five contests with an upper-body injury. When the Islanders take on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, it appears that the sniper will be back in the lineup.

On paper it looks like Vanek has only missed five games, but in reality it’s been six. He was forced out of action very early on November 9 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In those six contests, the Isles have been playing very hit and miss hockey. They’ve only won two of those games, and have been held to two goals or less four times.

Getting Vanek back clearly makes this a better team up front, and now he can get back to working on learning how to play alongside one of the best players in the game in John Tavares.

The top-end center hasn’t slowed down with Vanek on the shelf, but if the duo can click and get going it could very well boost New York to new heights in the offensive zone.

With an 8-11-3 record, the Islanders have plenty of ground to make up in the Metropolitan Division. They sit in eighth heading into tonight’s game with the Penguins.

Tags: New York Islanders NHL Thomas Vanek

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