It took a defensive disaster in Washington and an injury to rookie Matt Donovan, but the New York Islanders have decided to add another defenseman for the remainder of their four-game road trip.
As Arthur Staple anticipated on Twitter and The Dump And Chase Podcast, the Islanders organization announced that they had recalled defenseman Aaron Ness from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Thursday morning. Ness hasn’t seen NHL action since the 2011-12 regular season, when Long Island’s hockey team carried a decimated defensive unit, but his nine games of NHL action amounts to the most combined experience within the Islanders current pipeline – a factor in this decision.
The former 2nd round pick (40th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Ness looks to bring his strong skating ability and puck-moving abilities to a blue-line that is currently lacking. Throughout the current season, the Islanders defensemen have struggled on their first pass out of the zone – something the 5’10 Ness excels at.
With both Lubomir Visnovsky and Donovan (likely) sitting out for the time being, Ness might also be expected to add a bit of offense from the Islanders back-end. In each of his last two seasons with the Sound Tigers, Ness has accumulated 27 points, and has averaged 109.5 shots per season. Nine games into 2013-14, Ness has amassed 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) across the Sound.
While some expected the Islanders to see what one of prospects Calvin de Haan, Scott Mayfield, or Andrey Pedan could contribute at the NHL-level in the interim, none of the three defensemen got the call. Regardless, the Islanders blue-line is hurting, so somebody needs to step up. New York is hoping it’s Aaron who assumes a bigger role.
The Islanders take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh tonight. Ness is expected to make his season debut.
UPDATE: Donovan WILL be playing tonight, as will Ness. Matt Carkner is likely to sit out.