Blue Line Pipe Line

 

(Ty Wishart/Photo: Pope Steve XXVII)

The recent rash of injuries (an annual occurrence of late) and an unexpected ‘defection’ to Russia has diminished but not drained the pool of talented blue liners available in Bridgeport. The return of Mark Katic (perhaps within 2 weeks) and Calvin DeHaan shortly thereafter will bring the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to full strength for their playoff run.

The Islanders, with 40 points needed in their remaining 29 games to reach 92 points, are in a playoff run as well.  The Isles might well be looking for some help on D before the Feb. 27 deadline, but given the talent already in the pipeline I think that would prove money ill spent.   Secondary scoring has been missing, not defense.

Here is a brief cameo of the six active Bridgeport Sound Tigers defensemen.

 

Ty Wishart

Acquired from Tampa Bay in exchange for goalie, Dwayne Roloson, Ty has excellent size and is very mobile. He does not play the punishing game you might expect from a player his size but uses positioning and angles to his advantage.  Through 46 games this season Ty has 2 goals, 11 assists and 19 penalty mins.  He works comfortably in the offensive zone and has delivered 80 of his heavy shots on goal.  Not yet 24 he will easily find a place in the NHL as a top pair D-Man.

 

Jon Landry

At 6’3” and 220 lbs. this 28-year-old product of Montreal, QC has 1 goal and 3 assists in his 9 games with B’Port this year.  Before coming east from the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles Jon had 12 goals and 19 assists in 35 games played.  To be fair I have only seen him play in 4 games and that is too small a sample but I think his time would be better spent at the Webster Bank Arena, though he could fill in as a 5-6 defender.

 

Brandon Gentile

Like Landry I have only watched Brandon play 4 games and their numbers are identical but that is where the similarities end.  Success has followed this Detroit area defender wherever he goes.  Team USA World under-18 Gold Medal winner in 2005, NCAA men’s Division 1 Ice Hockey Champion in 2007 with Michigan State and ECHL Kelly Cup winner last season while playing for BST Coach Brent Thompson’s Alaska Aces.  All the skills necessary to make it, and make it big.  Needs to play a little nastier but all ready a top 2.

(Brandon Gentile/Photo Credit Andy Gardecki)

 

Steve Oleksy

There is something about this prospect that grabs my attention every time he hits the ice.  Never out of position he is more than willing to get dirty in the corners digging for a puck.  His numbers (0 G, 5 A in 25 games) don’t show the whole picture, it is difficult to measure heart and effort and Steve lacks neither.  His 20 or so shifts per game are 100% effort.

 

Matt Donovan

Matt is the youngest of the group  (though he is quick to point out that he is 9 days older than Aaron Ness).  I have previously profiled Mr. Donovan in my 1-15-12 post “Sound Tiger Suspected of Theft“ so there is no need for me to repeat my observations.  His up-to-date numbers are the best on the team for a blue liner , 5 goals, 20 assists, a plus 7, 47 PIM’s and 63 shots on goal.  Matt is a definite top pair-D.  His future is written, when it begins has yet to be determined.

 

Barry Goers

Barry is the Sound Tigers most recent acquisition.  Brought in on a PTO to replace Aaron Ness, he will play his first AHL game this Saturday. (Note to the Lovely Colleen- include PTO in FAQ post). Goers a 25 year old from Ivyland, PA played four years with the UMass-Lowell River Rats before moving to the ECHL.  His time with the Las Vegas Wranglers has been notable making the ECHL All-Star Game in 2011.  His 5’9” 175lb. numbers match those of Ness and his 3 goals, 20 assists and 26 PIM’s while playing to a plus 7 show promise.  Too early to call but cant wait for him to lace them up.

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