It's been a busy day for the New York Islanders, and that's before they face off with the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at UBS Arena. After placing defenseman Adam Pelech on LTIR with an upper-body injury, the team claimed veteran LHD Mike Reilly off waivers from the Florida Panthers.
Reilly had been the seventh defenseman for Florida all season, appearing in just two games as the Panthers dealt with injuries to Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour. Carrying a $3M AAV last season, Reilly played ten games for the Boston Bruins but spent most of the year with their Providence AHL affiliate. In 36 AHL games last season, he scored seven goals, 19 assists, and 27 points.
He signed a one-year, $1M contract with the Panthers this off-season and was headed to their Charlotte affiliate before the Islanders claimed him after Pelech was moved to LTIR and roster space was created by placing forward Matt Martin on IR. In 341 NHL games, Reilly has scored 12 goals and added 86 assists, playing with Minnesota, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, and Florida.
Per Isles statistician Eric Hornick, Reilly is among the three 4th round draft picks in the 2011 NHL Draft who are still active in the NHL. The others are new teammate JG Pageau and Johnny Gaudreau of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The decision to claim Reilly could indicate a few things for the Islanders moving forward. Pelech has to miss at least 10 games and 24 days of the NHL calendar since being moved to LTIR. However, there's no guarantee that his injury won't keep him out longer. Samuel Bolduc has been inconsistent in his role as seventh defenseman, and while the Islanders have several Bridgeport candidates who all have NHL experience, the front office must see Reilly as a more reliable option to play consistent minutes if Pelech is out for a prolonged time and if Sebastian Aho also misses time.