The New York Islanders have had an active offseason at all three levels of their team; but they made the fewest amount of moves in effort to improve their defensive corps.
In an effort to bring in a big name along the blue line the Isles traded a fifth round pick to the San Jose Sharks to get exclusive negotiating time with veteran defenseman Dan Boyle. Boyle opted not to sign with the Isles before hitting free agency and ultimately signed with the cross town rival New York Rangers. To say that this move didn’t work out as general manager Garth Snow planned would be an understatement.
The one move the Isles did pull off for a d-man was bringing in T.J. Brennan. The 25 year old Brennan has played 40 NHL games in his career, registering 4 goals and 7 assists. Despite never producing at the highest level, he has proven to be an extremely productive offensive defenseman at the AHL level. He registered 72 points in 76 games last season for the Toronto Marlies and was awarded the AHL’s defenseman of the Year award.
But he didn’t play a single game at the NHL level last season.
I’d be lying if I claimed to know anything about Brennan, but I’m willing to make this assumption: he doesn’t play much actual defense. That is the only thing that could keep a defenseman producing at that rate from being promoted. The Isles needed to strengthen the defenseive side of their defense as well as adding some offensive punch. I am confident that Brennan will be a factor on the Isles power play, but I am concerned what he can contribute in the other two phases of the game.
It is clear that Garth Snow is banking on Travis Hamonic bouncing back from a down year and Calvin de Haan building off of an extremely impressive rookie campaign. He need both to become steady, top four, type of d-men or the Isles are in big trouble on the back end.
In my opinion Snow didn’t do enough on D. As good as he was in improving the Isles in goal, he failed to address the defense adequately, in my opinion. That being said, he’s a millionaire and I write these for next to nothing, so he’s clearly smarter than I am.