One of the New York Islanders strengths this coming season is their depth on defense. It’s a great mix of veterans, players in their primes, and youngsters just starting. From top to bottom the Isles are loaded on the blue line.
The New York Islanders should feel very good about their defenseman. With the quality and depth, the Isles possess they should be in every game this season.
The Isles blue liners also can contribute offensively while still providing sound defense. This group of defenseman should lead the Isles to the playoffs.
Leddy – Boychuk
New York Islanders
Can Leddy take his game to the next level this season? As yours truly stated in a recent article one of the Isles five keys to this season is the play of Leddy.
Leddy’s goal this season is simple but difficult to achieve. When all is said and done this year, will the hockey world view Leddy as a #1 defenseman? If the answer to that future question is yes, then Leddy achieved his goal.
For Boychuk his goal this year is much easier, he simply needs to minimize the number of games lost to injury this season. Boychuk (now 33) is a solid two-way defenseman. He provides offense while being a stalwart in his own end.
Boychuk is also one of the veteran voices on the Isles. Don’t forget Boychuk’s name is on the Cup.
The Rooks & Vets
Filling out the rest of the blue line is a good combination of veterans and youth. Calvin de Haan, Thomas Hickey, and Dennis Seidenberg give the Isles a solid veteran core. Just as important is Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield brings an infusion of youth to the team.
What’s interesting is if everybody is healthy, the Isles will be sitting two defensemen each night.
Of this group the player that could wind up being a difference maker, this season is Pulock. He has a massive slap shot (105 mph) and should be a force on the power play, as well as score double digit goals this season.
Keep in mind after this season the Isles blue line could have a very different look. Hickey, Seidenberg, and de Haan all are unrestricted free agents at season’s end.
The only one for this group that could be a contributor to the Isles this season is Toews. Toews was an AHL all-star last year. He plays a two-way game and is a very gifted skater. He probably needs a little bit more time in the AHL but not much.
With the talent, depth, and youth the Isles have on the blue line in the organization they should be ecstatic. Teams like the Colorado Avalanche are very envious of the Isles blue line depth throughout the organization.
The Isles blue line situation both for the short and the long term will translate to team success over the next number of years.