The New York Islanders announced Monday that Dennis Seidenberg has agreed to terms on a one-year deal. Though the terms of the deal were not revealed by the organization, as per CapFriendly.com the deal is worth $1.25 million (unconfirmed).
Last season, Seidenberg notched five goals and 17 assists (22 points) in 73 games with the Islanders. The 35-year old defenseman also led the club in plus-minus rating with a plus-25 mark. Though the plus-minus rating could be a somewhat misleading statistic, it is worth noting that the overwhelming majority of Seidenberg’s time on ice was spent at even-strength. It was the Schwenningen, Germany, native’s fourteenth National Hockey League season and first with the Islanders. Prior to the season’s start, Seidenberg played for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Seidenberg’s points totals this season were his highest since 2011-12 (he registered 17 points in the shortened-2013 season where he appeared in 46 games). Given his age, his average time on ice has dropped the last couple of seasons. This year, he averaged 19:26 per game. Nevertheless, he continued to be a very reliable veteran blue liner with sound ability to shut the opposition and subsequently move the puck out of the zone quickly and effectively. His dependable nature earned himself another contract with Garth Snow.
While Seidenberg’s trustworthiness can hardly be debated, his presence now prevents at least one prospect from getting a shot at the NHL. With five other defenseman on the season-concluding roster, only Calvin de Haan remains a restricted free agent heading into the summer. Fans looking to see the likes of Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews have a chance at making the roster next season could be disappointed by the move.
Critics of Snow’s handling of the prospects ire with the perception that the Isles’ General Manager continues to defer to elder statesmen of the NHL rather than keep a fresh, youthful energy to the squad. To Snow’s credit, his patience – one way of putting it – with Joshua Ho-Sang has apparently paid off as Ho-Sang added extra spark and finesse to the Islanders in the latter days of the 2016-17 campaign.
On the other hand, inking a dependable veteran defenseman from the right point – a rare find in the NHL – could be a smart maneuver in anticipation of the Vegas expansion draft coming in June. Perhaps Garth Snow is baiting the Golden Knights into choosing Seidenberg over other, more expensive and younger defenders on the Isles’ roster, or even one of the three Isles’ netminders.
Regardless of the reasoning, should Vegas choose to pass on Dennis Seidenberg, the deal is only for one-year. Despite making the sixth and seventh defensive corps spots that much more competitive for younger defenseman, having Seidenberg gives the Islanders continued depth and invaluable veteran experience, including that which is gained beyond the 82nd game of the season, most notably, a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011.
The Verdict: not a bad move by Snow. Given the signing, it appears as though the Islanders’ front office has a clear contingency plan and strategy for the offseason heading into 2017-18.