The Visnovsky Dilemma: Where Will Isles' Defense Be?
As Rob McGowan reported on July 24, Lubomir Visnovsky has filed a grievance with the NHLPA regarding last month's trade to the Islanders. The reasoning? He claims his no-trade clause (which he had back in Edmonton) is still valid, and the Ducks never got the green light from him for the trade. (photo cred for this and frontpage summary image: Bridget Samuels/flickr)
This whole situation is reminiscent of a fight with a friend in which the friend insists he/she doesn't mind the result of something you did, just the fact that you did it. If Visnovsky really doesn't mind Long Island, and likes what he's hearing from GM Garth Snow regarding his role coming into next season, why even bother filing the grievance? Principle, he says.
"[General manager Garth Snow] has been great to him, they've had good conversations and Lubo likes what he's heard about how they want to use him," Neil Sheehy, Visnovsky's agent, said. "But this has really nothing to do with the Islanders. For Lubo, this is about establishing what's right and whether a team has the right to move him in the manner that they did." (source: Arthur Staple/newsday
It's all confusion. If Visnovsky honestly doesn't mind his spot with the Isles, why bother trying to fight to go back to Anaheim? Does principle really matter all that much if you're going to get good playing time and a spot on the #1 PP unit?
According to Visnovsky and Sheehy, yes. And that leaves the Isles to formulate a Plan B in case the arbitrator receiving Lubo's case decides it holds water.
The potential top six with Visnovsky in the lineup looks something like this:
Streit -- Hamonic
Visnovsky -- A-Mac
Carkner -- prospect (Donovan/Ness/de Haan, possibly Wishart)
With Visnovsky out, that could either move Carkner up or create a second-pairing spot for one of the prospects mentioned. With that, however, comes a younger, more inexperienced defense, something Snow was hoping to alleviate with Lubo for the time being.
Development is everything to a young player, particularly a young defenseman. If Visnovsky's grievance were to pass and he becomes Ducks property once more, that could push one of the prospects into on-the-job training, as it were. Some argue Donovan will be ready this year, but what of the other two? Does Ty Wishart then get a closer look, as a bit older and certainly more advantaged in size than at least Ness?
The PP, which was also looking to benefit from an offensive presence other than Streit, would be losing a valuable playmaker. Say what you will about Streit and Lubo's defensive capabilities, but the prospect of a PP featuring both of them is exciting at the very least. What happens if that becomes a no-go? A-Mac is very good on the PP, and Hamonic has a bit of a playmaking presence (24 points last season), but does either of them see more man-advantage time as a result?
Of course, if Visnovsky's NTC stands (which it probably won't -- he waived it to go to Anaheim and it's doubtful that NTCs are reinstated after a trade), he may well turn around and decide to do the trade all over again, with his seal of approval this time. If that's the case, then it'd be just a really silly move altogether. That's one thing the Isles don't need more of as they attempt to put together a winning model in an increasingly competitive Atlantic Division.
We'll see where the Isles go from here once the decision is made.