Are They Deep Enough on D?
The first question on defense is while one has to love Alexander Romanov's skill and his all-around game he has yet to play a game for the Islanders. The Isles have him penciled as Dobson's defense partner on the second pairing. They'll need that pairing to work for both the short and long-term. The Islanders are counting on Dobson and Romanov to be core players for years to come.
Overall, do the Islanders have enough on the blue line? Everyone knows when they are healthy Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are a terrific first pairing. Dobson emerged last season and Scott Mayfield is an anchor on defense for the team.
Assuming Romanov will be good the other question on defense is who will be the Islanders' sixth defenseman to play along Mayfield? Right now the primary candidates are Robin Salo, Sebastian Aho, and Grant Hutton.
The Islanders are going to need at least one of them to be a reliable player for them as one of their regular blue-liners. There are reasons to be optimistic about each player but none of them have proven themselves as NHL defenseman yet.
If an injury were to happen to one of the Islanders' main stays on the blue line would the inexperienced Islander defenseman be able to step up in that scenario? As we all know injuries happen in the NHL and if the Islanders were to lose a Pulock like they did last year for a long stretch would that cripple the team? The Islanders are counting on the Salo-Aho-Hutton group to be at least reliable NHL defensemen this season.
All three of these questions are big ones for the Islanders heading into the coming season. If they can answer each of them with flying colors the Isles can creep back into Stanley Cup contention this season.