2. Sebastian Aho
Players are also asked to play out of position when a spot needs filling. With the injuries to right-handed defensemen this season, the Islanders have either been shorthanded or had to seek external options to fill these needs. This has been the case for Aho, as he has been asked to play on the right side of Mike Reilly since returning on December 13th.
In sum, Aho has played in 30 of the Islanders' 39 games this season, 11 of those on his non-dominant side. He has one goal, four assists, and 43 blocked shots, which puts him on pace for the same or better than 2022-23. Viewed as a bottom-pair defenseman, Aho has risen the depth chart without Pelech or Pulock in the lineup.
Aho had never been scouted as a two-way defenseman, nor had he done so professionally before this season. All things considered, he has played well next to Reilly and has never complained or made excuses for playing out of position. While his shot has looked awkward at times, Aho still has been interictal to the rise of Reilly as an offensive-minded defenseman in Lambert’s system. If Aho never rose to the occasion, Lamoriello would have to sacrifice more draft capital to acquire a veteran replacement.