There is nothing set in stone, and nothing taken for granted, especially at this point in the calendar, with four weeks until training camp opens and a hair over 50 days until opening night against the Sabres.
So write it in pencil, but after another relatively quiet offseason, it is all lined up for the Identity Line to be rolled out yet again for the Islanders.
That is how Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck would surely prefer it, and it has been how the organization has constructed their fourth line since Martin returned from the Maple Leafs in 2018.
So, odds are, that’s how 2023-24 will begin.
“I obviously have a lot of history with those two and love playing with those two,” Martin told The Post on Wednesday at his annual hockey camp. “On paper, I would imagine it starts that way. As players, we still have to come to camp ready to go and earn our spots. Nothing’s guaranteed.”
The only one-way signing the Islanders made this offseason — Julien Gauthier — figures to impact their bottom-six.
Throw in the return of Oliver Wahlstrom from injury and the possible retirement of Zach Parise and there is a chance for some degree of change, even with a roster that looks nearly identical to the group that lost in the first round to the Hurricanes last season.
The case for the Isles making a leap, though, centers around the fact that they rarely had their full lineup intact last year.
“Obviously Bo [Horvat] is an impactful player and Pierre [Engvall] is an impactful player for us,” Martin said. “To have both of them signed long term, to me, is a lot like free-agent additions. And then obviously having a few other guys re-sign — [Hudson Fasching] re-signed, he was great for us last year. And then we brought in Gauthier.”
Gauthier, the former Rangers winger, might be the most immediate threat to the Identity Line’s continuity at the start of camp.
At 6-foot-4, the 25-year-old offers a blend of size and speed, though he has yet to put it all together over stints on Broadway and with the Senators.
“From playing against him, I think that’s something you really notice is that his speed can be a factor,” Martin said. “There’s small guys that are fast but when you’re big and fast, like Pierre Engvall, it’s hard to knock you off the puck. Obviously he’s moved around a couple times over the last few years. Hopefully he can establish himself and be a good part of this franchise.”
Familiarity, though, is invaluable — particularly to the Islanders, who have repeatedly chosen to stick with their core group.
Wednesday, when 350 kids packed their practice facility to get a chance to skate with Martin and snag autographs from Ilya Sorokin, stood as strong evidence of just how long he’s been around, spending all but two seasons on the Island since 2009.
The camp runs through Friday, with different Islanders making appearances each day. Attendance has grown so high that it was maxed out this year at 350.
“It is just amazing, the support, and I’ve felt that from Day 1 since I got here and made the team,” Martin said. “Islanders fans have always been pretty supportive of me and most of the guys. We have a passionate fan base. And then just to be able to give back in this type of way is important to me. A lot of kids return every year, they seem to love it and that’s really what it’s all about for me.”