New York Islanders Training Camp is less than one week away. On Wednesday, September 11, Long Island’s hockey team will return as a cohesive unit for the first time since their elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in May.
On Saturday evening, Islanders beat writer Arthur Staple dropped a bit of information on training camp to the Coliseum faithful, reporting that the Isles could have a couple of familiar veterans in Islanders Training Camp when it opens on September 11th. Defenseman Radek Martinek, who earned a spot with the Islanders out of training camp last season, and forward Brad Boyes, who finished third in scoring for the Islanders in 2013, remain on the open market, and may very well be brought in for another look before October arrives.
While it should be noted that many fans aren’t thrilled with this recent development, fans should also consider the mantra, “to be the man, you have to beat the man.” Translation: to earn a spot on the Islanders, one should have to beat out the player that previously owned the position.
Martinek and Boyes aren’t world-beaters, but they certainly did not play themselves off of the roster. Martinek, a long-time member of the Islanders, provided the team with three goals in thirteen games and the defensive depth that gave Coach Jack Capuano the flexibility to play with his match-ups. Boyes played very well on the wing alongside John Tavares, adding ten goals and twenty-five assists – production that should not be viewed as an easy fix if lost.
And while the Islanders are sitting at the max roster capacity, a training camp invitation to both players would only increase the team’s internal competition that should force the younger players to earn their roster spots this September. It’s easy to say that Ryan Strome should make the team, or Matt Donovan should be the next Islanders blue-liner, but if they cannot beat out the players they have to replace, then why should the Islanders brass put them on the team?
Adding proven veterans to the mix should be a positive sign for Islanders fans. Garth Snow and Co. want to ice the best team possible, and the only way that can happen is to make sure their guys earn their spots out of training camp. That’s great news out of Islanders Country, and it should be great news for the continued growth of this franchise.