New York Islanders Demote Griffin Reinhart, Place Michael Grabner on IR

By James McDermott

As per usual, the New York Islanders made multiple roster moves today, each one leaving me with mixed emotions. The team has sent defenseman Griffin Reinhart back to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and they placed forward Michael Grabner on the injured reserve retroactive to December 13, which makes him eligible to return for Saturday’s game.

To my mixed emptions, let’s start with the negative: can this hockey team get healthy? The Isles have yet to play a single game with a full roster yet this season, and it is something I would really like t see before the New Year. With Grbaner being sent to IR I doubt that the team will play at their full potential before 2015. With the current situation in the standings it is less imperative for the Isles to get to full strength, but come trade deadline time you’d like this hockey to have actually played together for a long stretch so you can evaluate the changes that should be made.

Also, as is often the way in professional sports and life, sometimes things are unfair. Griffin Reinhart has not been the Isles worst d-man since he was recalled to the team, he has played better than both Matt Donovan and Brian Strait, but he is also a player that the team is unwilling to use as a healthy scratch, for good reason. The 20 year old has a lot of developing to do, and obviously be better off playing regularly in Bridgeport than riding the pine at the NHL level. During his cameo at the beginning of the season Reinhart looked a bit over-matched but he has proven, to me at least, that he is already an NHL quality defender in his brief second stint with the big club. He is only going to get better, folks.

Now for the positives: this move means the Islanders are getting their top two defenders back. There would be no reason to demote Reinhart if it did not coincide with the return of both Travis Hamonic and Johnny Boychuk. The Islanders have done a nice job filling in for their top guns on D, but the return of Hamonic and Boychuk is huge for this team. With those two out of the lineup the team struggled in their own zone far too often. With three very tough games upcoming against teams with potent offenses, the Isles need their best guys along the blue line.