NY Islanders News

Do The Islanders Need a Veteran Defenseman?

By Noah Reiss

The Islanders filled gapping holes this summer by addressing their goaltending situation with the signings of Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson while also adding quality top-six forwards in Nikolay Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski. One hole the Islanders failed to address this off-season is bringing in a veteran defenseman.

Although the Islanders did sign reigning AHL defenseman of the year T.J Brennan from the Toronto Maple Leafs, he only has 40 games of NHL experience.

The question is, do the Islanders have a quality veteran defensemen to help develop their young prospects such as Griffin Reinhart? The Islanders most experienced defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky missed most of the season with a concussion and Matt Carkner, another veteran, hasn’t experienced much success in his tenure with the Islanders. If Visnovsky can’t stay healthy this year, the Islanders could be in some serious trouble on the blue line.

We saw what happened last year when Visnovsky went down with a concussion as the Islanders clearly struggled without his presence in the lineup. I’m sure the Islanders don’t want to be calling Radek Martinek again.

I truly believe the Islanders have been stockpiling forwards so they can acquire a quality top-4 defenseman. The players that very well could be on their way out in the event of a trade would be Colin McDonald, Josh Bailey, and Michael Grabner.

Who should the Islanders target? Teams like the Bruins, Blackhawks and Kings, who are over the cap and have a plethora of defenseman, would make excellent trade partners with the Islanders. Johnny Boychuk, Johnny Oduya, and Alec Martinez would be excellent fits.

I believe Boychuk would be the best fit for the team. Still only 30 years old, Boychuck is a Stanley Cup champion and is more of a defensive defenseman, which is what the Islanders really need. Boychuk. does not have a no-trade clause which may make it easier for the Islanders to acquire him. In the past, players with no-trade clauses have elected not to go to the Islanders. Whether the Islanders do it before the season or at the deadline, I fully expect them to deal for a top-four defenseman and I would not be surprised if they swap Grabner for Boychuk.