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Islanders Grades: Ty Wishart, Roloson cash-in

A steady game with periodic big hits -- that'd fit Ken Morrow's number, no?
A steady game with periodic big hits -- that'd fit Ken Morrow's number, no?

This is the first episode of our annual offseason series in which we review, discuss and grade the performance of individual New York Islanders from the season that was. Normally we do Islanders who played a full season (Brendan Witt didn't get a report card last year), but a part-time addition like Ty Wishart is a perfect case for this exercise because the question is: What were your expectations for him, and how well did he meet them?

GP G A P +/- PIM Hits TOI PPtoi PKtoi Corsi Rank Shots
2010-11 - Ty Wishart 20 1 4 5 5 10 26 16:49 0:30 1:26 1st of 10 (14.2)

Some food for thought on Wishart, plus the poll through which you can issue your grade, after the jump.

When Wishart arrived, many were glad to get a real prospect, an advanced one, in return for Dwayne Roloson, instead of the usual draft pick. One advantage of that was you could see where he might help out sooner rather than later. As injuries continued to mount, it turned out that soon was much sooner than later. Wishart ended up playing 20 games in two separate stints after the New Year's trade. (He also played lots of minutes in 20 games for Bridgeport, collecting 9 assists and a minus-2 rating.)

Corsi Master?

So the curious thing about Wishart -- and garik noted this in a FanPost after 12 games, but it held true after 20 games (still a small sample) -- is that Wishart's Corsi was better than his blueline teammates by a long margin. You can find that in that Corsi "Rank" (within the team) link above, and that's where you can also play around with the different measures of his quality of competition (Qual Comp, Corsi QoC, and Corsi Rel QoC) from Gabe Desjardins' Behind the Net site.

By those measures, his quality of competition is generally in the bottom half of Isles defensemen, which makes sense if you think of the Islanders easing Wishart in after his first call-up. Further, Wishart's playing time with the Islanders largely coincided with their better stretches of the season (chicken, or egg?), so combine somewhat sheltered minutes with a team playing its best and it's no surprise he would have better possession numbers compared to his teammates who were there through March thick and November thin.

Still, when evaluating what a guy did in a small and evolving sample of 20 games, that bit will be worth remembering.

[Edit/Update] Linemates/Partners

Forgot to include this originally -- and to be clear, while Wishart was "sheltered" upon his first call-up, by the end of the season he was one of the most important defensemen left standing, next to Travis Hamonic. Here is how Frozen Pool has his even-strength ice time parceled out among his most frequent partners:


Performance Observations

As for what Wishart brought to the table by more traditional reads, I think it's a mixed but promising bag. He's one of those guys who isn't very physical and thus fans will see his size and always want more. (That said, his hits per game was second only to Milan Jurcina among Islanders D. Small sample though.)

But like a lot of bigger framed defenseman, Wishart can use his size to take up space and cover a lot of both real and implied ice to make things harder for the opposition (e.g. Chris Pronger actually isn't so much physical as he is efficient with his movements and coverage, as well as periodically quite dirty to underline his "physical" reputation).

That's not to in any way compare him to Pronger, just to note that, you know, you can effectively use your size as a defenseman without constantly being on the prowl to destroy people.

Wishart possesses a heavy shot that we started to see a bit more toward the end of the season. His defensive decision-making left me wondering at times, but at other times -- and a late-season 5-on-3 kill with Travis Hamonic was impressive -- I saw the makings of a very solid defenseman.

In short, a promising pick up as a return for the unrestricted free agent goalie Dwayne Roloson (who lost Game 1 last night to Pittsburgh, sadly). Wishart probably doesn't see much time (if any) with the Isles this year if not for all of their injuries. But since he did, I think we've learned that the Isles have a nice asset there who doesn't turn 23 until this May. I see the attributes of why he was a mid-1st round pick in 2006.

The Grade

This is how our report cards work, and it's a little confusing or requires cognitive pretzels (and memory rewrites), but I think it's more informative than "This good player rocked; this 4th-liner kind of sucked." What you do is: Think of your expectations in training camp (or in Wishart's case, when he first was acquired). Then consider his season based on those expectations, and grade him based on how well he met him.

So if Wishart fell way short of what you hoped, you'd give him a 1, 2 or 3. If he blew your expectations out of the water, you'd give him an 8, 9 or 10. The mid-range (met expectations) is obviously a 5 or 6. Finally: Just have fun with it. This isn't scientific. It's still subjective. But with the power of the crowd vote, as we do each one of these we'll start to get a picture of how well individual Islanders did, graded on a fan curve.

In general, the question here is, what kind of defenseman/prospect did you think you were getting, and now in retrospect what do you think you got?

The Poem

Oh yeah, I forgot: You have to put up with some sort of bad poem or lyric or extended movie reference with each report card. And if you're bold (like JP often is), you'll add one of your own in comments.

Tie me up in some of your ties, Ty?
So asked the seductive Lacy Underall
As fans we're not quite so sly
As Judge Smails' niece at the Bushwood ball

A simple honest effort and puck-moving will do
And if you stay healthy, that's a bonus feat
Because a man worthwhile, is a man who can smile
When his pants are too tight in the seat.