Now that the lockout is over, I know you're all chomping at the bit to share your projected line combinations in the comments section. But before you head straight to 2013 NHL Season 101, I thought it best that we all take a refresher course on the Islanders' summer transactions.
1. The Islanders think they acquire, then possibly didn't acquire, then for reals acquired Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky. It only took a 2013 second round draft pick to pry the defenseman from Anaheim. Only one year removed from a 68-point season, Visnovsky tried backing out of the deal, claiming he still had a no-trade clause in his contract. The claim didn't stick, but at least Lubomir's one season under contract with the Isles will be a shortened one.
2. The Islanders sign Forward Brad Boyes to a one-year contract. Once a 40-goal scorer for the Blues, Boyes had a disappointing 2011-12, amassing only 23 points for the Sabres. But he did have 55 points the season before that, and the Islanders and Boyes are banking on a change of scenery to kick start his career.
3. The Islanders sign Defenseman Matt Carkner to a three-year deal. The 32-year-old Carkner is best known for pummeling people's faces, and will bring some much needed (dare I say) grit to the Isles' blue line. Interesting fact about Carkner, in each of his three NHL seasons, he was an Even +/-. I thought it was a typo, apparently he just gives as much as he takes.
4. The Islanders sign Forward Eric Boulton to a one-year contract. A veteran of 11 NHL seasons, Boulton's specialty is fisticuffs and will be the Islanders' go to brawler.
5. Bridgeport only, or...? The Islanders also made a few quiet signings over the summer that were mostly for their AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers, but could be relevant depending on injuries and the like. Of note: Jon Landry, the defenseman who earned his first NHL (two-way) deal at age 29 and is Bridgeport's top scorer on the blueline, and Colin McDonald, an AHL veteran forward who has some very brief NHL experience with the Oilers and Penguins. He's trying to line up an NHL job at age 28. He was named Bridgeport's captain last month, a sign of their happiness and confidence in him but also a reaffirmation that his primary role remains with that squad.
Players Who Could Become the Next Jon Sim (gone, but possibly not forgotten): Mark Eaton, Jay Pandolfo, Milan Jurcina (signed in Czech Republic)
And that ends our refresher course. Not an epic off-season by any means, so the onus will once again be placed on homegrown talent for the Islanders this upcoming, shortened season.