This sort of thing happens to the league's unsung forwards who quietly toil in low-point roles while others take the offensive glory, but I can't believe I forgot Marty Reasoner was a UFA in the free agency preview. The Islanders have locked him up as a bottom-six replacement for -- and upgrade over -- Zenon Konopka. Reportedly for two years, $2.5 million (or $2.7 million, according to Katie Strang).
I know a segment of Islanders fans will miss the fighting, and the rah-rah-ing, and the general personality that Zeke provided and scoff at the notion that Reasoner can "replace" any role Zeke performed.
But the fact is Reasoner can do the 5-on-5 part better, and his faceoff performance, though not Konopka-esque, is consistently top 20-25 in the league. Reasoner is one of those forwards in the lineage of Manny Malhotra who, while drafted for first-round offense they could not quite produce at the NHL level, adapted their all-around skills to be effective penalty killers and defensive centers.
You might not have realized it -- and I may have overlooked him -- because he toiled in obscurity, or in Atlanta and Florida (but I repeat myself), but Reasoner has served this role well for several seasons well. Barring a fall-off, he should do it again for the Islanders.
It ain't sexy. It's not what will draw the casual fan's interest. But it's what makes a hockey team better.
Note: Our original daylong free agency/silly season discussion thread is over here. If you're into 700-comment threads.