The New York Islanders cut their roster down from 68 players to 43. While most cuts made sense, there were a few surprises and a few head-scratchers.
The New York Islanders reduced their training camp roster by twenty-five players. The roster went from 68 to 43 as the Islanders reassigned 18 to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, while the remaining eight were sent to various other clubs at the junior level or in Europe.
There are still a number of players that remain in camp. The Islanders still have to cut another 20 players before the start of the 2018-19 season.
We have a good idea as to whom will remain on the team by the time the Islanders hit the ice for their first regular season game on October 4th, 2018. But in this group of 43 players, there are still some pleasant and odd inclusions.
And all of them are on the defensive end.
I didn’t include Kieffer Bellows for the simple fact that his play in camp means as well as other factors like his age and his decision to play in the WHL last season to be NHL ready. It’s no surprise that he’s still here.
Unlike at the forward position, the Islanders don’t have enough players to fill a seven-man defensive group. We know that Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech will make the team, but that’s only six defensemen. Not the seven that teams carry in the regular season.
Leaving one spot open for the other blueliners at camp.
Devon Toews is a clear favorite for the position. But it seems that there may be others joining the short list for the seventh spot. Some absolutely deserve a further look, some definitely don’t, while others are a total surprise to still be at camp.