Top Shelf: Islanders Daily 11/29/13


Sep 22, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan (44) skates the puck against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Islanders Country! As we all slowly recover from turkey coma, we have the luxury of watching our New York Islanders take on the Detroit Red Wings for the second time on home ice this season.

However, the lineup this time around will be very different. Yesterday, the Islanders sent defenseman Matt Donovan to AHL Brigeport and recalled defenseman Calvin de Haan.

The move definitely came as a surprise yesterday. Besides the timing (I don’t think many expected a roster move on Thanksgiving), Matt Donovan has been playing pretty well the entire season. Offensively, we know what he can bring to the table, as he was the top scorer of all AHL defenseman last season. He has recorded five points in 22 games NHL games played this season, which is very good for a rookie blue liner.

Donovan’s defense hasn’t been terrible either. Yes, he makes rookie mistakes from time to time, but he has great vision of the ice, and he’s really only been caught dead a few times, and that has happened to everyone on this Islanders defense. If the Islanders think their going to solve defensive mistakes by sending Donovan down, they’re wrong. De Haan is a good defensive player himself, but he’ll be sure to make plenty of mistakes, given the fact he’s played 21 games in the last three seasons.

However, despite his poor injury history, there is no reason to be upset about having Calvin de Haan with the Islanders. In the past, he’s been a very good offensive defenseman, and almost had a couple of point-per-game seasons down in the OHL. There’s no question that de Haan can produce offensively once he’s settled in and playing at top form, and the Islanders need the secondary offense’s contribution any way they can obtain it.

Calvin de Haan’s defense is something the Islanders desperately need as well. Scouts have always praised de Haan for his terrific skating, which allows him to play a shut-down type of game. He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes on the ice, but his skating has made up for his occasional folly quite often. De Haan could really bolster up the team’s blue line, which is by far the Islanders’ biggest current weakness.

While this move is probably just to spark the play young Matt Donovan, don’t be surprised if Calvin de Haan’s play makes the decision on who stays with the team difficult for Coach Jack Capuano. Many people thought de Haan was more deserving of a roster spot than Donovan during training camp, and it looks like we’ve only just seen a glimpse of this ongoing roster battle.

-Peter (@pjmcentee)

In Case You Missed It

EOI’s own Eric Bordin Critiques the Islander’s Stadium Series Jersey (Eyes on Isles)

A Change May Be Coming for the Islanders, Soon (Islanders Op-Timism)

Making the Case For Kevin Poulin (Lighthouse Hockey)

There’s Only One Way For the Islanders to Get Back Into Contention (Eyes on Isles)

Around the NHL

Vancouver Canucks 5, Ottawa Senators 2

Edmonton Oilers 3, Nashville Predators 0

Across the Sound

The Sound Tigers play their first of three consecutive games tonight against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Currently, Ryan Strome leads the team in points at 19.

As always, thanks for being a reader here at Eyes on Isles. With our terrific Top Shelf morning briefing and insightful opinion pieces written by our terrific staff, keep it right here for your up-to-the-minute news, opinions, and analysis on Long Island’s hockey team.