Before I do any previews on the club's defense it's time to ask the question will Gm Garth Snow trade a defender?
Going into this Islanders have seven NHL defenders under contract and former Islander Bryan Berard will be a tryout player in camp. My guess is Berard will be signed to a contract if he shows anything and would not be attending camp unless his tryout were more than a formality.
Signed/Resigned this summer:
Chris Campoli: Three year contract
Aron Johnson: One year contract
Andy Sutton: Three year contract
Signed last year:
Brendan Witt-Two years remaining on contract
Radek Martinek-One year remaining on contract
M.A Bergeron-Two years remaining on contract
Freddy Meyer-One year remaining on contract
Bruno Gervais-One year remaining on contract
Let's not even get into Dustin Kohn or some of the veteran defenders signed last year with limited NHL experience.
You put Johnson in the AHL (he played sixty one games for Columbus last season) and that still leaves eight NHL defenders on this roster and only six can play on a nightly basis.
For those thinking Gervais-Campoli can play in the minors both must clear waivers and it's highly unlikley the club would risk exposing them to waivers. Both of them seem the most well-rounded defenders on the roster in terms of overall game.
Martinek is expected to be healthy and in camp according to the club website reports.
This leaves lot's of questions, few answers. Fair to say the players just signed are not going anywhere in trades. Snow traded for Meyer and did not have to commit long term to Campoli. He also traded for Bergeron. Witt he absolutely needs and Nolan has stated how much he likes Martinek's game and how critical it is for the club's defense.
Of course if Islander fans are going to make a depth chart Meyer would likely be at the bottom which is why other teams may not want him.
I keep looking at this and who other teams would want who could be available with all the moves to this point. If the right talent were coming here in return and I keep coming back to one player.
Personally, I would keep Gervais unless the return is too good to pass up and brings the same kind of potential and talent. The question is will Snow address his numbers problem on defense with a trade. It seems he has to if Berard is signed.
Thoughts and comments are appreciated.