Wizzing By: Isles Add Depth At D

Just the other day, I was asking the web if Garth Snow was done with making moves to his roster. The line-up looked almost identical to last year with a few minor tweaks; the team got tougher, the blue-line added a veteran presence, and young guys were getting a chance to have their day as Matt Moulson. But other than that, the team was exactly the same.

A cause for concern was the fact that the defense, although filled with veterans such as Mark Eaton and Milan Jurcina, had lost the element of physicality. Or in other words, a replacement for Andy Sutton. Those hard-hitting body checks that Suts delivered are hard to come by these days and are important for any successful team.

But last night, Garth Snow got his man.

In exchange for a conditional 3rd round pick in 2011, James Wisniewski, a 6'0 207 pound defenceman, was picked up from the Anaheim Ducks. He is 26 years old and here on a one-year deal that he signed with the Ducks just before getting dealt. That means he is eligible for free agency next year. A double-edged sword if you think about it; he may top his recent career season of 3 goals, 27 assists and 30 points along with 102 blocked shots and 129 hits, but then may look to other options once July 1, 2011 rolls around...but that's not a concern for now.

Wisniewski will play the body and deliver the hits that fans will want to see. He's also been utilized as a second-unit power play quarterback. This will help relieve the pressures on Kyle Okposo and Doug Weight to contribute from the point and may even allow them to work down low where they are most effective. But who knows? Maybe he will even get a chance to play along side Mark Streit, who hasn't had an effective partner with the extra man for the past two years and has had to do almost all of the work on his own.

It appears the defense for the Islanders is finalized and ready to go. Now it's time to see if Garth can continue to gradually tinker with the offense.

-Rob McGowan

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