Outside of Adam Pelech and Andy Greene, the New York Islanders have a massive hole on the left side of the defense. For the last seven years, it was filled by Nick Leddy but with him traded away, the team will need to find someone to play on the second pair.
The unfortunate issue, as Mitch Anderson pointed out for us last night, is the UFA options aren’t too appetizing. Could they trade for Vince Dunn?
While I would love that, I’m not sure how likely that is. Seattle has seemed adamant about keeping him around long-term. The common thought by a majority of Islanders fans at this point is just have Samuel Bolduc or Robin Salo play.
While I like both of those players as prospects, Bolduc a second-rounder in 2019 and Salo a second-rounder in 2017, what have you seen in the last three years to indicate that they’d be willing to give those guys a legit chance?
Both Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz time and time again have favored veterans over youth, despite the youth having a higher ceiling. Now, I’m not here to argue that either of these couldn’t be a puck carrier at the next level.
In fact, there’s a chance both of them can. I just don’t buy that either Lou or Barry will trust someone with such little experience in a role like that.
Starting with Samuel Bolduc, he has just 24 AHL games under his belt. Sure, he was pretty good for Bridgeport last year putting up 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) but he’s only 20 and that’s the only professional experience he’s had so far.
I’m supposed to believe that Trotz is going to feel comfortable with him after a few years in the QMJHL and a cup of coffee in Bridgeport? The same can be said about Salo too.
Yes, he’s two years older and played really well over in Sweeden. In 51 games last year he had 30 points (6 goals, 24 assists) for Orebro. You reading this have the same amount of games played in North America as Salo (0).
Again, not saying that Salo can’t be an NHL-caliber d-man. It’s the inexperience that makes it hard to believe he’ll get a realistic shot. Heck, even throw Sebastian Aho into the mix.
Fans love to bring his name up but he’s played just three games in the last three years. Sure, he’s put up numbers in Bridgeport but after playing three games averaging 13:21 last year in the NHL I’m supposed to believe that he’s a regular getting 18 minutes a night? I don’t buy it.
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The moral of the story is I don’t think the Islanders’ second-pairing LHD is on the roster or in the system right now. Maybe I’m wrong, but history tells me I’m right.