Despite the New York Islanders still needing to add a top-four defenseman to their blue line to help ensure themselves a chance at making the playoffs next season, they still have an abundance of d-men that are ready to compete for a regular spot in the line-up.
Travis Hamonic, Calvin de Haan, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Thomas Hickey are likely four guaranteed defenseman to play on a nightly basis. Matt Carkner, Matt Donovan and Brian Strait are three blue liners that will play as well, solidifying six defenseman with one ready to sit and play when called upon.
Following their unexpected return to the playoffs at the end of the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season, the Isles found themselves in unfamiliar terratory having a draft pick outside of the top 10. Holding the 15th overall selection, General Manager Garth Snow selected offensively gifted defenseman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL.
With training camp starting in a few days, the Islanders finally have solid competition up and down their roster. New additions on offense, an influx of youth on defense and two new goaltenders means there will be battles everywhere in camp from start to finish.
Today marks the first day of September, meaning that New York Islanders training camp will be opening up in the next few weeks. This time of year gives the coaching staff an opportunity to observe the types of players they have developing in their system, test out line combinations, and see which prospects are prepared to take on full-time roles in the NHL.
Presently, the Isles have 16 forwards and seven defenseman on one-way contracts, including two legitimate NHL goaltenders who do not have to worry about fighting for their job.
That leaves the Isles with 25 players on their roster.
The 16 forwards is the number that got every hockey expert on the twitter-sphere proclaiming that Garth Snow was absolutely going to trade someone in order to bolster his blue line.
We’re several weeks past the onslaught of free agency madness, still more than a month away from training camp, and right smack in the middle of the dog days of summer with the NHL. The Islanders, after the acquisitions this off-season of Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski, and Nikolai Kulemin, have addressed many of the holes that have plagued them in recent years.
The New York Islanders announced this morning this morning that they will be hosting their annual Blue & White Prospects Scrimmage on July 10th at Nassau Coliseum. In addition to the scrimmage and skills competition, fans will have an opportunity to obtain autographs from the participants as well.
Heading into the Islanders' final season at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, they have many holes to fill, but an over paid winger that doesn't play both ways is not something they should be in the market for.
Regardless of their unexpected success taking them into the playoffs last year, there were many areas that the Islanders needed to improve coming into the current season. The core of the team was established, but among many other things the defensive corps was a major concern and the departure of captain Mark Streit only made things worse.
Having already used one of their two compliance buyouts from the new CBA, the Islanders have some decisions to make before the start of next season. Improvements need to be made and impact players need to be brought in if there is any hope of contending next season. Due to their already small budget, a compliance buyout may have to be used to make sure that they have money available to acquire the right players.
The Sound Tigers have gone 5-1-0 in their last 6 games, continuing their up and down trend that has gone on all season long. A lack of identity could be the cause of the inconsistency but there are some bright spots to take note of in Bridgeport.