As the Islanders’ coaches, scouts and management continue to judge players and make decisions during this intriguing NHL training camp, keep it here at Eyes on Isles as we take a look at individuals who need to make or brake the team. Whether it be prospects looking for their first chance or veterans trying to stick with the team, there are a lot of Islanders players who will be facing battles for spots.
Today let us look at veteran Eric Boulton.
Boulton is on a professional tryout (PTO) with the New York Islanders after playing parts of the past three seasons with the team. He played a total of 48 games for the Islanders, registering just six points.
However, the 39-year-old is no sniper, as many Islanders fans no already. He is a tough guy who fights and will be competing for a spot on the Islanders’ fourth line.
He is obviously facing an uphill battle for one of the final forward spots because there are already two heavy hitters on the team’s fourth line, Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin, and they play well with centerman Casey Cizikas. Add to the fact that Clutterbuck and Martin are shoo-ins to lead the league in hits this year, and one may question if the Islanders really need another tough guy.
I believe that the more toughness on the team, the better, however, you need a certain amount of skill on your team to be competive. His real competition will be penalty kill specialist Steve Bernier, and rookies Kirill Petrov and Michael Dal Colle for the 13th and/or 14th forward spots. Judging by how good Petrov has been playing in the preseason and the Islanders’ need for penalty kill help, Boulton needs to have a camp to have a chance.
On the bright side, however, Boulton survived the first round of cuts. When the Islanders cut 21 players, he was not one of them. Instead, he now has less competition with Taylor Beck, Bracken Kearns, James Wright and Ben Holmstrom not in the picture.
So will he make the team? Fans love his fights, but is there room for him on the roster? We shall see soon. If he does make the team, he will be one of the oldest players in the league (He was drafted all the way back in 1994!).