After the untimely injury to defenceman Thomas Hickey, a new spot on the back end is now open for an aspiring defenceman until about a month into the season. The first names that come to mind that would likely, and hopefully seamlessly, take his spot are either Brian Strait, rookie Ryan Pulock or veteran powerplay specialist Marek Zidlicky. Either way, if the Islanders decide to go with two spare defencemen to start the season, all three will likely make the Islanders.
But has a new player thrown his hat in the ring? Arthur Staple from Newsday tweeted this on Thursday:
Eric Boulton skating as the eighth D-man? Sounds very interesting. He is facing an uphill battle for one of the final spots on forward on the Islanders and the 39-year-old trying his best to find any role with the team. It should be considered an accomplishment for him that he is still with the team. Especially considering the fact Michael Dal Colle, Taylor Beck, James Wright, Ben Holmstrom and Bracken Kearns have already been cut. Is coach Capuano just experimenting here by putting him on defence? Has he switched positions? Or is this just a sign that he is on his way out?
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I think that Capuano is experimenting with Boulton, who has nothing to lose in what is probably his final shot in the NHL, and putting him on defence to inject a little more competition for those final spots on the back end.
In the past, we have seen Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Burns, John Scott, Wade Belak, Deryk Engelland and many others switch between defense and forward positions. They have mostly been grinders or enforcers, like Boulton.
it is obvious that Boulton is an excellent fighter and can spark something when needed. I don’t think he has a chance to make the team if he is only being considered as a forward. However, he does have a chance on defence because he may be able to bring in a tough attitude to the back end similar to what former Islander Matt Carkner brought to every game. However, he will need to beat out at least one of Strait, Pulock and Zidlicky.
What do you think? Could Eric Boulton play defence on the Islanders? Comment below!
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