Continuing the week of the waiver claim, the Islanders added defenseman Brian Strait from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The move marks the fourth consecutive day the Islanders have added a player via the waiver wire.
Strait is a solid defensive defenseman who many feel can contribute on a bottom pair at this point in his career. He hasn't had much experience in the NHL (12 games), but got time in a pinch last season when the Penguins needed someone to step in and didn't look out of place in limited time.
A guy like Strait is exactly what you would look for in a depth defenseman/injury fill-in, more so than the Joe Finley's of the world.
Strait has played a lot in the AHL for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, playing in 220 games for them dating back to 2009 and putting up a career line of 8-32-40 and a +45 plus/minus rating.
Jack Capuano will wait until he has a better idea of who the Devils have in their line-up before deciding who will get the 6th D-man spot tonight. My choice is a close one, but I think I'd go with Thomas Hickey over Strait.
In order to make room for Strait, the Islanders officially announced they have suspended defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky for failure to report to the team. He maintains that he'll need two weeks to arrive to tend to his son's health, but it's anticipated he'll be here on February 1st. We'll see if that holds true or if he just comes up with another excuse at that time. In that event the Isles will just toll his contract.
So the Islanders are carrying eight defenseman and 13 forwards to start the year. I like the idea of having all those blueliners because you know there is going to be some injury problems given the fact there was literally no time for training camps. When (if) Visnovsky shows up the Islanders will likely waive one of their defensemen.
Keith Aucoin, Colin McDonald, Casey Cizikas and David Ullstrom all made the big club with Josh Bailey and Jesse Joensuu ailing. There is some talk that either Marty Reasoner or Cizikas will be the odd man out for tonight's game, meaning that Aucoin and Eric Boulton will both be in the line-up. I think I'd like to see Cizikas in the line-up because I think the Devils are the type of team he should be playing against. But we'll see what decision they make when game time approaches.
Evgeni Nabokov gets the nod over Rick DiPietro, as it should be for tonight and for a majority of the season if the Isles are serious about making the playoffs this season.
It's been a while, but I am so thrilled to be able to say to you all...Happy Hockey Day! Enjoy the games!