Johnny Boychuk was placed on injured reserve on Thursday afternoon, as the Islanders defenseman is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
Boychuk has nine points (3G, 6A) in 34 games this season playing on the Islanders top pair with Nick Leddy. The year old was the Islanders most prolific shot blocker, with 77 blocks this season and is second on the team with 20:40 TOI/GP.
Boychuk's injury comes a week-and-a-half after an upper-body injury to Calvin de Haan, as two key pieces of the blue line are on the shelf. De Haan is out indefinitely.
The injuries open the door for the Islanders younger defensemen to step up and play an increased role with the team. Both Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield were given opportunities to play alongside Leddy with Boychuk out for three games earlier in December.
Sebastian Aho, the Islanders 2017 fifth-round pick, was recalled from Bridgeport on Thursday and will likely make his NHL debut with Boychuk out for an extended period. Aho has 20 points (9G, 11A) in 29 games for the Sound Tigers in his first American Hockey League season.