A Quiet Day In Garth Snow's Office
The New York Islanders will assemble the same roster for their game tomorrow night against the Washington Capitals, the second of a home-and-home series. Well...pretty much the same roster. Rob Schremp was claimed off of waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers and management has called up Justin DiBenedetto from their AHL farm team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Schremp had about one or two stretches this season where he was one of the top Islanders on the roster but then was hardly noticed for the rest of the year. It allowed him to find a familiar seat in the press box as a healthy scratch, allowing other Bridgeport call-ups to make their way into the starting line-up,
DiBenedetto was drafted by the Islanders in the 6th round at 175th overall in the 2008 entry draft. The twenty-two year old left wing has been with the Sound Tigers for the past two years after completing two 93 point seasons in a row with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. So far this year, DiBenedetto has 15 goals and 8 assists for 23 points in 40 games played. Assuming he is in the line-up Tuesday, he will be playing his first NHL game against Ovechkin and the Capitals.
But nothing else happened on the Island besides these two moves. There were rumors swirling of Garth Snow fielding offers for both Radek Martinek and Zenon Konopka, both of whom are impending unrestricted free agents. It is assumed that Martinek will not return with the team next year. With Mottau, Eaton, Streit, MacDonald and Hamonic all under contract for next season, Gervais and Hillen as RFA's and de Haan likely to push for a roster spot, there just seemingly isn't enough room for the veteran defenseman.
Konopka, on the other hand, will continue to provide leadership and a voice for a young locker room that looks up to the fourth line enforcer for at least the final stretch of the year. Whether or not the Islanders retain his services past this season, Konopka has become a player that isn't afraid to speak his mind in defense of his team or on the ice. He is fifth in the NHL in face-offs as well as the league leader in penalty minutes. His attitude has been contagious as others are seen sticking up for their teammates on a nightly basis. For a team that used to be pushed around by the bigger and badder teams of the Atlantic Division, Konopka has been everything that the fans have hoped for their young team. This is one blogger that hopes he is here for at least another season. He has stated that he wants to be back...it's all up to whether or not Garth Snow thinks he is worth the contract.
It may not have been the most exciting trade deadline for Islanders fans, or many NHL fans for that matter as it was pretty quiet all day. But Snow didn't budge or make a trade for the sake of making a trade. The core remains in tact with the subtraction of another forward that didn't fit the mold. He made the necessary trades of moving Roloson and Wisniewski earlier in the season and got a defensive prospect in Ty Wishart from the Tampa Bay Lightning and 2nd and 5th round picks from the Montreal Canadiens.
The big test for Snow will be what he is able to do between the end of the season and this October. With Okposo and Streit back for 2012, this team is only one or two players away from being a team that will be competing for a playoff spot. In addition to de Haan, 2010 5th overall pick Nino Niederreiter will be looking for a permanent spot with the club; Tavares will look to continue his improvement on the stat sheet; Comeau, Nielsen and Parenteau will have found their niches with the 2nd and 3rd lines; Grabner will look to repeat this breakout season; and Mighty Matt Moulson will embark on his three-year contract extension as possibly the team's past goal scoring leader for two seasons in a row.
With all of that in mind there are no complaints from this blogger in regards to Snow's relatively quiet day at the office.
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