NY Islanders News

Witt’s end?

By John Panarese

According to IPB and some other sources, the Islanders have placed Brendan Witt on wavers with the goal of sending him down to the port. Whether or not anyone is going to pick up his salary remains to be seen, but I find this move rather curious and, at this stage, a bit disturbing.

First off, with the injury to Jack Hillen, we are not exactly carrying a lot of depth on the back line. Dustin Kohn has had limited playing time, so the theory of “turning over the defense to the kids” doesn’t appear to hold too much water. Secondly, we are lacking physical play overall, and removing one of the toughest guys in the lineup does not make much sense to me.

I know the point can be made that Witter has not exactly fit Scott Gordon’s system well, and I know his +/- rating will be repeatedly pointed out to me. Nevertheless, at this point in the season and with a guy who both plays a very physical game and simply is a warrior, I don’t understand the thinking behind this move. Witt possesses the grit and determination this team very much needs at the moment, and regardless of how well he has adapted to the system, you are losing quite a bit just the same.

Is it simply a personality conflict that has reached its boiling point? Are the Islanders looking to be sellers prior to the March 3 trade deadline and all the talk of making the playoffs is just smoke? Does Garth Snow have some deal in mind that will bring a top 2 or 4 defenseman here? Are they thinking of bringing in one of our prospects and giving him a shot with the “big club”? I guess we will find out within the next few weeks. At the moment, though, I really do not understand this decision.