The New York Islanders blueline depth shuffle continued Monday with the claiming of AHL defenseman/enforcer Joe Finley on waivers from the Buffalo Sabres. [UPDATE: In a related move, Ty Wishart has been placed on waivers.]
Finley, a 2005 first-round draft pick (27th overall) of the Washington Capitals, did not see NHL action until 2011-12, when he played five games with Buffalo in January. He wasn't really in the plans of the Sabres, who are deep with prospects on the blueline.
With Lubomir Visnovsky still AWOL and a few PTOs holding potentially temporary spots at AHL Bridgeport, Finley adds another name...and a large body: Finley is listed as high as 6'8", 249. He was second on the Rochester Americans in PIM with 81 through 36 games this season. He should please AHL home fans. Upon his NHL debut last year, it was clear that simple (and big, and mean) was the battle plan.
He's from Edina, Minn. (same hometown of Islanders prospect Anders Lee), and completed four seasons at North Dakota in the NCAA. I don't know at what point you stop referencing college baggage in a player's career, but he was arrested in 2009 by campus police with Matt Frattin in the "lawnmower toss" incident.
He signed a two-year ELC with the Caps out of college. Before cutting ties, the Capitals at one point toyed with switching him to forward, so you know where this arc is going: At best, continuing long-term project. But more likely eventual depth for the AHL as the other (and smaller) prospects rise. He is in Islanders camp though.
So no, this doesn't solve the Lubo issue nor is it intended to. Different players, different profiles, different roles within the depth chart.