A Top Defender? Best Strategy Is To Develop One

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/10/2011 06:41:00 AM |


Top defenders are what twenty nine other teams always make room for, in other words that kind of player is not going to be available on the market without paying a big price in return, most of them are close to UFA.

Do not expect it to happen, it's highly unlikely.

The usual suspects are always available in free agency or trades, they are not any kind of answer.

It's 2011-12, Bryan McCabe is not that player anymore, Scott Hannan is not any kind of answer, just another question.

This franchise does not need another stop-gap.

The kind of defender New York needs has have to be developed, it was done with Andrew MaDonald, Hamonic, no reason it should not happen with another player already here. Chris Campoli/Bruno Gervais came through the teams system, as did Radek Martinek.

Dustin Kohn was the highest drafted defender for a long time, he was not qualified.

For the 2011-12 New York Islanders, with thirty three years of mileage on Mark Streit, coming off a year where he did not play, it's impossible to know what will happen. New York allowed the exact same against totals the last two seasons, regardless Streit will be the top defender and should be.

After that how Andrew MacDonald recovers from his summer surgery will be another question. Travis Hamonic will make up the top three core defenders.

Another could come from a group which includes Mark Eaton, Mike Mottau, Milan Jurcina, with Eaton and Mottau, usually durable, but not last season. If the club were to add a veteran defender one from this group would have to go.

Beyond that why would New York not give Calvin deHaan, after two camps where he almost made the team the full nine games if he looks ready?

If Garth Snow targeted Ty Wishart, he looked solid enough in his chances last season, why would management not give him every opportunity as a first round pick with size and good skating ability at his age?

Mark Katic's been an AHL All-Star, his skating looks world-class, he was drafted in 2007 and has some some obvious offensive upside. No one in the organization reminds me more of Mark Streit.

Plus/minus? He had one or two bad turnovers, his plus minus here or in Bridgeport did not reflect his defensive ability.

No law here Donovan, Ness, Klementyev or another prospect cannot make a run at a spot here and secure a place. Dylan Reese has had several solid stretches in call-ups.

This is why management made the tough choices to move on from Gervais, Hillen, Martinek, to develop someone else. Martinek would have been a very easy choice to retain because when he's healthy his steady play is a huge asset.

More tough decisions could be coming if MacDonald is not ready, if Mottau's eye injury/shield limit his ability and whoever else is injured. Nothing replaces actual games lost for Mark Streit, his defense has to be what it was before the injury.

Best strategy, develop a top defender.
Usually when you go that direction it works out.

The odds of finding another Mark Streit on someone's depth chart are much lower.

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