New York Islanders Looking for Depth Defender in Free Agency

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 03: Dennis Seidenberg
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 03: Dennis Seidenberg /

New York Islanders GM Garth Snow is rumored to be looking to add a depth defenseman in free agency scheduled to start on July 1. If that’s crazy it’s because it is crazy. The Islanders already have a number of defenseman on the roster. Too many even.

Going into the 2017-18 season the New York Islanders have six defensemen on the active roster. They also have two more on their AHL roster that they protected in the NHL Expansion Draft just a few weeks back. So why add a ninth one to the mix?

Let’s just go over who the Islanders already have on the blueline. Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk are the Isles top two defensemen. They eat up the bulk of the minutes staffing the top pairing.

Then comes Calvin de Haan and what should be Thomas Hickey, but will likely be Dennis Seidenberg on that second pairing for the Isles. Both played incredibly well together.

That leaves four more players for two spots. The aforementioned Thomas Hickey, the two Vegas protectees Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech, and finally Scott Mayfield. Hickey gets the spot and then….it’s a toss-up between the other three.

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Big Assumptions

To be fair, this setup has two big assumptions. One, they resign Calvin de Haan. There’s no reason they don’t, but they haven’t yet. Although, they did tender him a qualifying offer.

The second assumption is that Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are actually on the active roster next season. Both are currently with the New York Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

Why protect them in expansion if Garth isn’t ready to use them in the NHL? It’s not like they’re new and we don’t know what they can do.

Both have been in the organization for years now. Pelech was drafted in 2012 65th overall. Pulock was taken the year following at 15th overall. Both are third -year pros, playing at least three seasons in the AHL. If Garth liked them so much to protect them in expansion then it’s time to let them play.

Next: Isles Need Duchene Not Free Agency

Unless Garth is planning on trading a defender. That’s the only “what if” that works when it comes acquiring yet another defender in free agency. Because at the moment there just isn’t any room for a ninth man on that blue line.