Yesterday we looked at how adding the 2011 draft haul added new blood to the Islanders' forward depth chart. Because of different center/wing variables, that isn't as tidy of a picture (in a "these are the lines in 2015!" kind of way) as what we'll look at today.
What follows is a list of defensemen the Islanders will definitely have in their possession as of July 1, when Jack Hillen, Radek Martinek and Dustin Kohn are presumably set free. You'll note it's not stacked in the traditional way, envisioning pairings, but rather by handedness. Don't misinterpret that as an over-emphasis on lefties or righties; it's just an easy way of noting an often overlooked variable.
|D (lefty)||D (righty)|
|Streit (2012-13)||Hamonic - 2013 RFA|
|MacDonald -2014RFA||Jurcina (2011-12)|
|Eaton (2011-12)||Reese - RFA|
|Wishart - RFA||Klementyev - 2013RFA|
|Mottau (2011-12)||Mayfield - NCAA|
|Katic - 2012 RFA||Kichton - WHL(?)|
|De Haan - 2014 RFA||Russo - NCAA|
|Donovan - 2014 RFA||DeHart - ?
|Ness - 2014 RFA|
|Pedan - OHL|
- Years in parentheses are the final seasons before a player becomes a UFA
- Years before "RFA" are the summer in which they'll become an RFA -- unless they're an RFA in 2011
- The rest are the new draftees and the leagues they will play in, plus Tony DeHart, who was drafted as an overager in 2010
The Next Generation: Inching Closer
The thing that stands out is how many contracts will expire next summer: We knew this when they were signed, but Mark Eaton, Mike Mottau and Milan Jurcina (re-signed last winter) truly do stand as veteran bridges to the next generation coming up the pipeline. Not that all of them will necessarily walk next summer, but certainly not all will be back.
In fact, the only non-ELC (entry level contracts) players who are signed beyond next season are Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald, whom most would call the Islanders' two best defensemen.
Meanwhile, Travis Hamonic's (and Anton Klementyev's) ELC began last year, while the ELCs for Calvin De Haan, Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness trigger this season as they officially begin their pro careers
Behind them you have 2011 draftees Brenden Kichton, who will be entering his age 19 season, Lithuanian(-born) Andrei Pedan of the Guelph Storm, and college-bound classmates Robbie Russo and Scott Mayfield, who begin their NCAA careers in the fall.
You certainly draft for quality, talent and all that. But in terms of assets and when their rights and development curves mature, the Islanders have a nice spread of blueliners throughout the system, and last weekend provided a chance to restock at the lower ends. As the rights to Blake Kessel and Shane Sims (presumably) lapse, new blood enters...