Kukla's Korner Hockey
by William Morrison on 09/05/11 at 07:16 PM ET
Over the weekend, the Islanders invited veteran forward Jay Pandolfo to training camp. Can Pandolfo make the team? Yes. Will he? I don’t think so. While I think Pandolfo could provide some veteran leadership to the Islanders young forwards, I just don’t see where he fits in.
Lets start with my line projections for the season opener:
Matt Moulson-John Tavares-PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner-Frans Nielsen-Kyle Okposo
Blake Comeau-Josh Bailey-Nino Niederreiter
Matt Martin-Marty Reasoner-Brian Rolston
I think these will be the seven defenseman that start the season on the Islanders: Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald, Travis Hamonic, Ty Wishart, Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina, Calvin de Haan.
Goalies: Evgeni Nabokov, Al Montoya, Rick DiPietro
Assuming the 12 forwards listed above make it, the seven defenseman listed make it, and the 3 goalies listed make it, that leaves one spot on the roster. The Islanders could start the season with two goalies on the roster and that would leave two open roster spots going into training camp. The Islanders may want to give de Haan another season to develop and may not want to have him on the roster if he is going to be a scratch for a lot of games.
I think that Michael Haley has a very good shot at taking up one of the forward spots. Haley showed a lot of toughness last year, and was a good complimentary enforcer to the young, very skilled forwards. I also think that Trevor Gillies has a very good shot to make the roster as another enforcer to compliment the skilled forwards, but that depends on how many defenseman the Islanders start the season with. I guess it is not an absolute given yet that Nino Niederreiter will make the team, but I think it is his spot to lose. Even if Nino has an average training camp, I don’t think the Islanders can afford to not have him on the team this season.
Jay Pandolfo has had a solid NHL career. He has won two Stanley Cups for the New Jersey Devils and was a fan favorite in Newark. However, Pandolfo didn’t play a single NHL game last year. He only played 12 games for Springfield of the AHL last season. There is no question that Pandolfo will give 120% to try and make the team-I just don’t see where he fits in.
I like the veteran leadership that Pandolfo would bring to the Islanders, I just think the Islanders would be better served to add a veteran defenseman such as Bryan McCabe. It wouldn’t hurt the team to add a veteran defenseman and give Calvin de Haan one more year to develop his skills and better prepare for the NHL.
At minimum, Pandolfo will be a veteran in camp who has two Cups to his credit and could show the Islanders young forwards the right way to do things. While I don’t think Pandolfo will make the team, he is going to a beneficial addition to the Islanders in training camp.
The Islanders Informer
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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