The New York Islanders announced that defenseman Ryan Pulock will be out for, you might want to be sitting down for this, 4-6 weeks. That's right, weeks.
The team's no.1 right-handed defenseman will miss a chunk of games. With that timeframe, he could be back just before the New Year (missing some 19 games in the process). So now what do the Islanders do?
New York Islanders Ryan Pulock out 4-6 weeks
In The System - Righties
Well with Ryan Pulock out it reduces the Islanders right-handed stock by one. Leaving Noah Dobson and Scott Mayfield as the two right-shot blueliners on the squad. The obvious first step is to see what's in the system on the right; that's Grant Hutton and Paul LaDue.
Yes, I know Bode Wilde is a right shot defenseman but he's out on loan in Sweden. He's there for the season.
Hutton isn't exactly a puck-moving defenseman. He might be a good bottom pair defender who can use his size to box out forwards around the net. He's got a decent shot. The team likes him. LaDue was signed recently to a one-year two-way deal. He has 69 NHL games to his name, all with the LA Kings, since 2016-17.
LaDue has played every game for Bridgeport this year scoring one point. He's also an option but I'm not sure how much the team likes him over Hutton. They obviously like him enough to sign him so you have to consider him as an option.
In The System - Lefties
Maybe the team doesn't bring in a righty at all. They could just give that spot to Sebastian Aho as they did on Tuesday in Florida. The 25-year-old played well in only his fifth game in two years. They like Aho, they like him enough to play him 21+ minutes against Florida.
Robin Salo's name comes up a lot right now. And for good reason. He's done very well with Bridgeport. But the more I think about it the less confident I am that Lou will call up the rookie to play while he's got an inconsistent Noah Dobson and a still rusty Sebastian Aho on the blueline.
Remember with Aho already here they might just play him and bring someone up to be the 7th d-man. That isn't what you want to do with Robin Salo right now. You want him playing instead of sitting in the press box.
The only other option is to find one in the trade market. And by "one" I mean a top-four defender. The Islanders were already looking for one, but now they absolutely need one. Which obviously isn't good for negotiating a trade, but that's where the Islanders are right now.
Who that player is, is anyone's guess of course but if an internal option isn't sufficient enough (and it doesn't seem like it will be) then the trade route is the only other avenue.
All eyes now turn to Lou Lamoriello and the Bridgeport Islanders roster card for tonight's game as we try to figure out what the Islanders GM will do to replace Pulock. At least temporarily.