15 September 2012
On the day of the NHL draft the Islanders showed they meant business right away as they started the day off by trading their 2013 second round pick to the Ducks in return for arguably their best defenseman in Lubomir Visnovsky, who racked up points in 2010-11 by scoring 18 goals and 50 assists for a total of 68 points in 81 games. Last season wasn’t nearly as productive for “Lubo” who was nagged by injuries early on in the year, and could only manage 27 points in 68 games.
The Ducks were probably expecting last season to be the beginning of the end for Visnovsky’s career, however the Islanders are expecting otherwise as, along with Captain Mark Streit, the Islanders will possess quite the potent power play defensive line. Add John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and power play specialist Brad Boyes to the mix and power play coach Doug Weight is probably very anxious to get to work with this group.
I’m personally expecting the defensive lines to look something like this when the season commences:
Visnovsky – Hamonic
MacDonald – Streit
Carkner – Donovan/Ness/de Haan
While I’m not a huge fan of breaking up the tandem of Hamonic and MacDonald, there isn’t much choice in the matter as a tandem of Streit and Visnovsky would not leave much leeway for error in the Isles defensive zone. Hamonic would add the defensive potency Visnovsky lacks to his game, as well as pick up some tricks of the offensive trade from his experienced linemate. MacDonald and Streit have worked well together before, when A-Mac was just getting started in the NHL and Streit was his mentor, and there shouldn’t be much of a problem with the two working together again. Carkner will have the role of protector for the rookie who will almost certainly be getting the permanent call-up as the 6th defenseman on the roster. Whether it is Donovan, most likely of the candidates, Ness, or de Haan, opponents will more than likely be thinking twice of putting a big hit on the rookie with Carkner lurking close by. Carkner will also add some protection to the goalies, particularly DiPietro, who seemed to get run into a few times too often last season.