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Calvin de Haan joins the injured shoulder brigade

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If someone in the depths of last year's 30th-place season told me, "The Islanders will have two very promising blueline prospects next year -- one a graceful puck-mover, the other a 2008 pick who is adding some offense to his already physical shutdown game," I would have said: Great! ... What's the catch?

The catch, it turns out, is that both will suffer major shoulder injuries this season -- one requiring surgery, one {crosses fingers} that is being rehabbed so that Travis Hamonic can help his new junior team in the playoffs and the Memorial Cup.

Calvin de Haan, who was an OHL all-star this year and point-producer -- and shootout taker! -- for the Oshawa Generals, is now on Long Island in preparation for shoulder surgery, which will sideline him for six months. Chris Botta says the injury happened Sunday [more details from TSN here]; I'm sure we'll hear whether it's entirely new or a re-aggravation of his "upper body" injury from earlier this season. Hamonic and de Haan, you'll remember, each suffered injuries in the WJC (Hamonic's shoulder, de Haan's head/upper body).

Not to feed panic -- it's a rough game, we know this, and medicine has come a long way since the "Bum shoulder? There's still work for you on the farm" days. But to review: The Islanders' two most promising amateur defensemen prospects -- their thinnest position -- have shoulder injuries that rob them of a half-season of development before they've even played an official pro game.

Somehow, that sounds about right.