Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NY Islanders: Shoring Up the Defense

The Islanders used the 2012 NHL draft for one express purpose. That was to revamp the teams number one problem in 2011. Before the draft Islanders GM Garth Snow sent a 2013 second round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for 35 year old NHL veteran blue-liner Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky is an outstanding pick up for the Islanders for many reasons. One is his cap hit which at 5.6 million is exactly what the team needs to reach the salary cap floor. Then there is the fact that his actual salary is three million, which helps maintain the Islanders low budget. In addition he also presents an outstanding trade chip option should the team falter in 2012-13 and fail to challenge for a playoff spot. He will be an unrestricted free agent after this season so he does not come with a lengthy commitment. Now the to the nuts and bolts. He is an excellent puck moving and power play defenseman who with Mark Streit will make either an excellent 102 punch on the point with the Islanders power play, or be the backbone of the number two power play unit. Either way the Islanders pathetic power play has been vastly improved. Onto the draft itself. What would the Islanders do with their pick? The top three picks went exactly as most people thought with Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray and Alex Galchenyuk going with the first three picks. There was a collective gasp with NHL commisioner Gary Bettman walked to the podium and announced the there was a trade to announce. Were the Islanders trading down? Did they trade the pick for a veteran? As it turns out all Bettman was doing was announcing the Islanders aquisition of Visnovsky. Garth Snow was on the clock and there was pretty much one name most of the fans in the know wanted to hear. 6'4" Griffin Rienhart was the kid the fans wanted and when Garth Snow walked up and made just that pick a wave of cheers and applause went through the almost ten thousand people at the draft party. When exactly Reinhart will be in an Islander uniform is anyone's guess. It is doubtful he will be in an Islander uniform this season. The Islanders defense for 2012-12 looks to be set from one through four with Mark Streit, Visnovsky, Travis Hamonic and Andy MacDonald. Who will be the fifth and sixth defenseman you ask? Well Its time for Calvin de Haan to show he belongs in the NHL and he should fill one of those spots. Then you have Ty Wishart, Mark Katic and Aaron Ness who should all get consideration. One wild card could be 6'4" Scott Mayfield who should get a long look in prospect camp. On a side note, or maybe it isnt a side note and should be more front and center, the Islanders are hyping the heck out of their "Inaugural Game" at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. The are selling T-Shirts hyping their "Inaugural Game" in Brooklyn. I will examine this development in my next article. Please discuss these and any other topics you want.

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