Jay Pandolfo Gets Tryout With Islanders
The New York Islanders announced today that former New Jersey Devils forward Jay Pandolfo will be attending the Isles training camp on a tryout basis. Pandolfo's tryout is likely in the hopes of him earning a roster spot with either the Islanders or another NHL organization.
The 36-year old left wing has spent his entire 14-year NHL career with the New Jersey Devils and has won two Stanley Cups after being drafted in the second round at 32nd overall of the 1993 Entry Draft. Last year he played 12 games with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL.
If Pandolfo were to crack the Islanders line-up, he would have to earn it as the Islanders already appear to be set at forward with Nino Niederreiter pushing for a roster spot and Josh Bailey most likely having a new contract before the start of camp (if he doesn't, he will be sit out for all of the 2012 season - a strict rule of owner Charles Wang that has been in place since he bought the team a decade ago).
He would also be a bottom-six forward as well. Even so, he still might have trouble finding a spot. Tavares, Okposo, Moulson, Grabner, Nielsen and Parenteau round out the top six (based on last year's lines) and Rolston, Comeau, Bailey and Niederreiter fitting somewhere in third and fourth lines with Matt Martin, Trevor Gillies, Marty Reasoner and Micheal Haley polishing off the bottom trio. So you see, even if Gillies and Haley were rotated in and out of the line-up, Pandolfo would still have trouble finding a permanent spot.
At the very least, Pandolfo's veteran presence will push guys like Niederreiter or other prospects a little harder to prove themselves worthy to make the Islanders roster on a full time basis. And you never know, Pandolfo may be willing to accept a two-way deal with the Sound Tigers and Islanders, which would give the Isles added depth if the injury bug were to be caught plaguing the team for what would feel like the umpteenth year in a row.
Although this is mere speculation, the media as well as many fans are wondering if former Islander Bryan McCabe will also get a tryout with the team. He is currently an Unrestricted Free Agent that is living on Long Island. I ran into Bryan a few months ago just after the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs and he did mention to me that he might be considering retirement, although he did add that he hadn't officially made up his mind on what his plans were for the upcoming year. Granted, his team was just knocked out by the Capitals about a week prior to this talk.
However, the team is still in search of a top four defenseman to add to the opening night lineup. Although a younger, more offensive and long-term solution would be the ideal situation for the Islanders, McCabe could add a valuable veteran presence as a short term fit and could help the power play in addition to Rolston and Streit's work at the point.
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