Isles Add Reinhart and Visnovsky
The New York Islanders rounded out their defensive core on Friday when they traded a second round pick from 2013 to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky will be entering the final year of his deal and will be possibly be a free agent when the 2013 off-season rolls around, but giving up a second rounder for a solid defenseman was worth the gamble for GM Garth Snow. (BridgetDS/Flickr)
Visnovsky provides the Isles with a veteran puck-moving defenseman and gives New York the top four d-man that they needed going into the 2012-2013 NHL season. Some might look at the trade with a furrowed eyebrow as the Islanders already had a puck moving defenseman in Mark Streit, but the move actually adds some depth to the defense and puts more accountability on a defensive group that isn't dominated by veterans such as Jurcina, Staios, Mottau, and Eaton. Much like Mark Streit, Lubomir Visnovsky is no stranger to play in the offensive zone as he has tallied 450 points in his hockey career, and 221 of those points have come with the man-advantage.
The addition of Visnovsky can definitely help the Islanders with their defensive woes as the defenseman can block his fair share of shots and throw his body around a bit as well. While Mark Streit handled the bulk of the power-play quarterbacking duties, Lubomir Visnovsky will take some much needed pressure off of New York's blue-liners, especially Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald. It is yet to be seen how the Islanders will deal with up and coming prospects such as Calvin de Haan, Aaron Ness, and Matt Donovan, but the player(s) that might be recalled this season could learn a thing or two from the veteran defenseman. Visnovsky has a +32 rating for his career and doesn't seem to take too many penalties, so the trade makes sense from a variety of standpoints.
On the other hand, the Isles' selection of Griffin Reinhart on Friday night stocked the team's prospect pool with yet another solid defensive talent. Reinhart comes to the Islanders from the WHL and is a big defenseman that stands at 6'4” and weighs over 200 pounds. Reinhart tallied 36 points (12 Goals, 24 Assists) as a sophomore in the WHL, but his +23 rating also indicated that the defensive prospect could have a solid all around game that the Islanders could use in a few years as they continue to develop from within. Even though highly touted defenseman Mathew Dumba was still on the board, Snow decided to select a defender that could impact the team in the future with some strong two-way play.
With Mark Katic signing in Germany for the 2012-2013 season, the Islanders seem to have at least four defensemen set for their lineup in the upcoming NHL season. Mark Streit, Lubomir Visnovsky, Hamonic, and MacDonald can do a formidable job for the Islanders, but more importantly, Snow made a move that added more veteran presence to New York's blueline. Visnovsky might not have had the best season during the 2011-2012 NHL campaign, but the defenseman is only two years removed from posting a career high in point totals. Whether or not New York's defense will improve remains to be seen, but it might please fans to know that Garth Snow is trying to acquire the right pieces for the Islanders via different avenues.
NHL free agency will begin on July 1st and P.A Parenteau will most likely be one of the hottest topics for a free agent market that is thin on forwards. Replacing Parenteau might be a difficult task to overcome, but overspending for a forward might not be in Snow's game-plan. Regardless of the route that the team does take during free agency, fans shouldn't expect Snow to make an over-the-top offer for an average forward as the GM continues to make calculated moves in the right direction.