The Islanders system isn’t very strong but there are still a few decent options to take Leddy’s spot on the second pair. If they can get that spot might be a tall task.
But considering there aren’t many perfect options in free agency and the trade route might be difficult to navigate with the best option possibly being selected by Seattle, the Isles might have to look internally to fill Leddy’s spot.
Aho has been excellent for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In three years with BPT, Aho has 104 points in 156 games. We don’t have transition stats or power-play stats for him at the AHL level, but stylistically, Aho is an offense-first player with good skating abilities, just like Nick Leddy.
The Islanders have been reluctant to use Aho. He’s played three games since that 22 game sample in 2017-18. But they know all about him. Aho followed the team around on the taxi squad in the bubble and with them through the 2020-21 season. That could be enough intel for the Isles to hand him a spot on the roster in 21-22.
Smooth skating, can quarterback a power play and puts up points. His 30 points in 51 SHL games puts him on pace for 27 at the NHL level. But the fact that he’s yet to play a single pro game in North America puts him at a significant disadvantage.
Just like Aho, Salo meets the need stylistically. But unlike Aho, the Islanders aren’t as familiar with him. The likelihood of Salo getting a spot is low. But not impossible.
Bolduc’s chances are about as good as Salo’s. Bolduc has North American pro experience under his belt and did well in his first pro-season for the Sound Tigers. But it’s only one year.
(To anyone asking: I didn’t list Bode Wilde because he’s a RHD.)