Place Your Bets On The Vets
Brian Rolston, Jay Pandolfo, Marty Reasoner and Steve Staios were added to this Islanders team during the off-season to provide veteran stability throughout the line-up; Rolston was acquired for cap room and an added offensive punch over Trent Hunter, Pandolfo and Reasoner were brought in for defensive support on the bottom line, and Staios added grit and experience to a relatively young defense crew.
Let's take a look at their numbers to see where they stand:
Rolston: Three goals, three assists, six points in 25 games played. Rolston is often paired with Mark Streit on the blue line to bring his powerful slap shot on the power play and has been juggled between various offensive units. He most recently has been playing with David Ullstrom and Josh Bailey, but Rolston is someone who expects top six minutes. Whether or not he is unhappy about his line placement, he has not provided the offense that he, or the Islanders probably thought he would.
Pandolfo: One goal, his only point in 21 games played.The veteran checking winger has been on the IR for some time now after breaking his foot on November 26th in a game against his former team, the New Jersey Devils. Although his stats are not very impressive, Pandolfo was brought in for one major reason: to play on the fourth line and kill penalties. When healthy, he has been one of the hardest working skaters each night, doing exactly what has been asked of him.
Reasoner: No goals, three assists, three points in 24 games played. Reasoner also has the worst +/- on the team with a -15 rating. The two-way center was expected to kill penalties and add some more offense to the fourth line over the departed Zenon Konopka. However, Reasoner has seen himself as a healthy scratch and has at times looked lost, whether it be in the offensive or defensive zone. He has seen time on both the third and fourth lines but still has struggled to find his game as well as his first goal of the season.
Staios: No goals, five assists, five points in 27 games played. Staios has more or less done what has been expected of him and the Islanders should be happy with the play they are getting from the 38 year old defenseman. He's stuck up for teammates when needed and has been pretty smart defensively. He also is quick to get back into the play if he his caught out of position; there have been a handful of occasions where Staios slid on his stomach to break up a pass that looked to have been perfect had it not been for him.
From these eyes, Staios and Pandolfo look to have been pretty good fits for this team. The best fits? Not necessarily, but probably the best out of the bunch that we have seen this year. Rolston's offensive numbers should be higher and Reasoner has almost been seen more as a defensive liability as opposed to an improvement to the fourth line center position.
It makes you wonder if Rolston and Reasoner's playing styles are really meant for the system that the Islanders play under Jack Capuano. But should the head coach really make a lot of adjustments for two guys, one of which (Rolston) that is likely gone after this year? (Reasoner has one more year left on his contract after this season).
If I had to place my bets, Reasoner and Rolston could be used as bait by the trade deadline. Players like Ullstrom and Haley may find an opportunity to work their way into the line-up permanently if things keep up. Staios and Pandolfo may be gone by the trade deadline, or at the very least after this season concludes.
But so far I would say that these two vets, who were training camp tryouts, are doing a pretty good job for the New York Islanders.