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The Future Looks Bright for Isles Defense

by Alex Kuhlke | Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
(Photo via Islanders.NHL.com)

(Photo via Islanders.NHL.com)

Not yet paying attention to the possible trades and free agent pick-ups that could happen over this summer, a look at the Islanders’ defensive future shows some true promise. Past Isles prospects and picks are nearing their NHL readiness, and a few others have been offered entry-level contracts along the way, giving us all some hope that we’ll never have to experience this past season’s state of defense ever again.

Defensive play (whether this be due to injuries or not) was one of the Islanders’ weakest points this past year, so any defensive improvements at all should really help to push the team in the right direction.

 

Who They’ve Got: Travis Hamonic’s contract extends through the 2020-2021 season; he is 23 years old and 6’2”, 203lbs. Hamonic is a solid defenseman, and personally I see him as a key chemistry member of the Islanders.

Thomas Hickey, nicknamed the “Iron Man” of this season because he played in every single game, is another core member of the heart of the Islanders. He is 25 years old and 6’0”, 184lbs. It was fun to watch Hickey drastically improve as this season went on; he really stepped up to the plate when the Islanders began to lose many defensemen to injuries.

23 year old Kevin Czuczman has another year on his entry-level contract, which is pretty exciting because this guy showed lots of promise during his time with the Islanders this past season. It also can’t hurt to have his big body on defense- Czuczman is 6’3”, 204lbs.

Calvin de Haan showed the most promise of all after having been called up from Bridgeport this season. 22 year old de Haan made quite the impact on not only the Islanders but the NHL as well, finishing with a respectable first season in the books. Calvin de Haan is 6’1”, 187lbs.

The extended future is unclear for other current Isles defensemen like Lubomir Visnovsky, Matt Carkner, Brian Strait and Matt Donovan. Visnovsky faced some terrible concussion troubles this season, leaving his future with the Isles (or a hockey career in general) totally unknown. Carkner has one more year on his contract with the Islanders and Brian Strait has two. Donovan will probably return to Bridgeport for next season.

 

Who They’re Getting: As of today, Loic Leduc has signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders. Leduc was selected by the Islanders in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL draft. He is 19 years old and stands at 6’6”, 212lbs- a nice big guy on the ice to look forward to. Leduc played this past season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Adam Pelech was selected by the Islanders in the third round of the 2012 NHL draft. He is 19 years old and played this past season in the CHL. Pelech is 6’2”. 210lbs.

Ville Pokka was selected by the Islanders in the second round of the 2012 NHL draft. Pokka is from Finland and played professionally there this past season. He is 19years old and is 6’0”, 206lbs.

Griffin Reinhart was selected by the Islanders in the first round of the 2012 NHL draft. Reinhart has been making an impact in the CHL this season and also represented Canada in the World Junior Hockey Championships. He is 20 years old and is 6’4”, 202lbs.

Ryan Pulock was selected by the Islanders in the first round of the 2013 NHL draft. Pulock was also impressive this past season in the CHL. He is 19 years old and is 6’1”, 211lbs.

 

The trade and/or free agent status is unknown in terms of acquisitions the Islanders might make over this off-season, but the defensive system the team has developed is solidifying greatly. Defensively, the near future of this team is really looking promising. This past season, as the Islanders fought for a spot in the playoffs, the rookies were the one making the most impact. Hopefully when these defensemen make their way to the NHL, their rookie presence will also be hard to ignore (in a good way, of course!)

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