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:

Brian Rolston (Robert Kowal/Flickr)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.

Steve Staios (Robert Kowal/Flickr)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.

-Rob McGowan

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Brian Bock's picture

Shame Pandolfo got hurt when he was playing his best hockey this season by far. Rolston has shown flashes of effectiveness on different lines and on the power play, but also shown futility at times too. He HAS to hit the net more from the point on the power play - it is so frustrating to watch. With Jurcina's improved play on the PP, I have to think Rolston gets less time there when A-Mac returns to the lineup. Reasoner so far has been the biggest disappointment - I have no doubt Garth would move him at the deadline if there was any interest, but the 2nd year of his deal may hinder what, if anything, teams offer in return. Staios has had some really good and some really, really bad games, but for the most part, you know what he brings to the ice each night. Hopefully the Islanders can claw their way back up the standings and draw from these veteran's playoff experiences this season as well!

Rob McGowan's picture

Agreed Brian, especially about Rolston. I am shocked with how many times his shot misses the net on a given night. I wouldn't be surprised, like you said, if we see him get less PP time as the season moves forward and other players, like MacDonald, make their way back into the line-up

rmo214's picture

Agreed with your assessment of Rolston. Expected bigger things from him after all he is the teams highest paid player. Personally, I like Staios and Pandolfo as they are mostly reliable and have done what they were brought in to do. I think Reasoner is having too much trouble playing this type of system and unfortunately do not see him playing after this year. I "do " think that another change or two HAS to be made to this team. You can only carry a team with "heart" just so far. Talent HAS to be increased.Garth Snow states that if there is a deal to be made that will help the team, he will surely do it. Well, the team currently sits in last place(again) and when do you think that time is going to come. I put a lot of the blame on him. (personally, I do like Garth and thinks he has done a better job then certain people give him credit for, but I think he now has to do better than what he has been doing)There are assets that he still has, whether it be draft picks, prospects, vets,etc. Be creative. That's part of the criteria of the job. Remember, just because a 1st or 2nd round draft pick might be a good thing to have, it is not a guarantee that they will become anything spectacular.(sometimes not even making the NHL as we have seen in the past).
On another note, I do have to give credit where credit is do however. A player that has had a lot of scrutiny associated with him has been Josh Baily, who was always under the gun because we dropped 2 draft orders to get him and then rushed him into the NHL too soon.(remember,he was really the player that they were looking at all along???). I, along with a lot of people, felt he might not of been the player we should of picked. To his credit, I really do like the way he has been playing of late, so Kudos to him. Keep up the good work. It is not getting unnoticed.