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Replacing Martinek: What'll it be?

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"To me, [Martinek]'s one of best kept secrets in NHL," Gordon said. GM Garth Snow agreed and wouldn't rule out a trade: "It's a big hole for us to fill. If something makes sense, we'll do it."

>>NY Post, paying a blip of home-game attention to Islanders hockey

Well yeah. Of course you wouldn't rule out a trade. When you enter a season with just seven NHL blueliners -- at least four of them no strangers to X-rays -- you're going to reach this point where a replacement of some kind is needed.

That's not to say Garth Snow's job is easy here: It's difficult to sit two quasi-NHL defensemen every night and get them enough work to be competent when you need them. If one of them is a green Jack Hillen, you get stuck wondering if all the sitting is right for his development. That's why a known depth quantity like Freddy Meyer is nice to have.

But now Hillen and Meyer are both in the lineup, and Martinek's 22:47 TOI (2:22 on the PK) per game is not. So what do you do?

The Islanders are headed on the road, where they could be an Andy Sutton shot block or a Brendan Witt awkward hit away from needing another defenseman. Bridgeport's Andrew MacDonald makes for a nice call-up in a pinch; otherwise, none of the young AHL prospects are ready for this role (the Sound Tigers have lost 5 in a row, by the way). But unless they want MacDonald up with the team as The New Meyer, a depth move seems prudent. You're not replacing Martinek -- an already busy Mark Streit and the rest split up his duties -- but you do want someone with enough upside to claim a regular role, plus enough negative leverage to accept whatever the Isles give him.

Any ideas or pet waiver gems out there? (Side Q: Would you have claimed Randy Jones and half of his $2.75 million off re-entry waivers if the injury happened then?) Any *cough* realistic trades? Remember that if you look to Europe, at this point a guy has to pass through Dubie-waivers. And if you bring up Chris Chelios, I swear ...