Is It Time To Look To Bridgeport For Help?
Prior to the Islanders game against the Carolina Hurricanes last night, defenseman Aaron Ness was recalled for some help on the blueline. The Islanders have been struggling to win as of late and Ness is a mobile offensive minded defenseman that hopefully can contribute on the scoresheet as well as defensively. It could have been for help, or for a bit of a shake up as well which I think is needed for this team at the moment.
Rookie Matt Donovan, the guy who won the vacant defensive job out of camp has been hot and cold. He has shown glimpses of stellar play and other times has looked like a typical rookie, making mental gaffes and finding himself out of position. This is to be expected of rookies as they get acclimated to the NHL level, but unfortunately the Islanders don't have that kind of time. The Islanders already have two defensemen in Lubomir Visnovsky and Brian Strait on the IR with no timetable for return, and the team is dropping in the standings at a somewhat swift rate. So is Aaron Ness a precursor to more players being brought up from Bridgeport to inject some life into this team and also help solidify some wins going forward?
On defense there isn't much else of a pool to pull from that is ready for the NHL at the moment. Other than Ness, Calvin de Haan is the only other one who could be ready, but his play has only been average with the Sound Tigers. Scott Mayfield and Andrey Pedan are still too young in their development even though they are regarded as top prospects down the road. Aside from that, there is big Joe Finley who in my opinion isn't going to provide the help the Islanders currently need.
As far as the forwards go, this could get interesting. Depending on the severity of this "upper body" injury to Cal Clutterbuck, help may be needed from Bridgeport in the interim. Beyond the injury to Clutterbuck, a call up may be necessary simply because of certain players not pulling their weight. Both Michael Grabner and Josh Bailey came out of the gate hot to start the season. Neither have been playing poorly but you just don't notice them like you did at the beginning. Grabner is still getting plenty of breakaway options as I think I counted 3 last night against Carolina, but he isn't finishing. The fourth line of Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas and Colin McDonald had a bit of a break out game last night, but for the few games prior they were not very effective. This is where we start to think, is Ryan Strome's time coming? Personally I think it is a good time for it. The team is slumping, but with 66 games remaining it isn't to late to right the ship. If they feel Strome needs a little more time, maybe Mike Halmo should get the call. Halmo has been hot as of late and is putting up points on a torrid pace.
These are thoughts that the team will have to toy with for the next little bit of time. After all, Garth Snow said in reagrd to his acquisition of Thomas Vanek that he wasn't going to sit around and let time pass and watch this team struggle. If no more trades are on the way, I believe it is time to shake things up and give the youth of the organization their chance to prove their worth to the team and in the NHL.