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.
The New York Islanders have been sold by current owner Charles Wang to an investment group led by former Washington Capitals co-owner, Jon Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin. Ledecky and Malkin have only purchased a minority stake of the team, leaving Wang in charge for the next two years.
Once the next two years pass, Ledecky and Malkin will become the full owners of the New York Islanders (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
Without question the Islanders have made strides this offseason by revamping their roster in a very good way. However it remains to be seen if they will have the proper guidance to reach the potential that they now have on paper.
For years, fans had been clamoring for Charles Wang, the owner of the New York Islanders, to find a new home for the only professional sports team that exists on Long Island (Photo credit: michele cat/Flickr).
The Lighthouse Project came and went. The August 1st referendum came and failed. There were the ridiculous rumors of Kansas City, Ontario, and other places that never came to fruition. But one thing was certain: the New York Islanders were not going to be playing in the current Nassau Coliseum a day past the 2015 lease expiration date.