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Unrestricted Free Agents New York Islanders Should Consider

Defensemen: Alex Goligoski, Brian Campbell, Roman Polak, Jason Demers, Kris Russell, John-Michael Liles, Ben Lovejoy, Luke Schenn, David Schlemko, Matt Bartkowski

The Isles possess an outstanding amount of depth on the blueline. They have roughly eight d-men with an opportunity to make this squad:

  1. Nick Leddy
  2. Johnny Boychuk
  3. Travis Hamonic
  4. Thomas Hickey
  5. Ryan Pulock
  6. Calvin de Haan
  7. Adam Pelech
  8. Scott Mayfield
  9. Insert prospects, such as Parker Wotherspoon…

As prudent as all the depth is, it should come with an asterisk: many of the players on this list have dealt with injuries in the past.

Here are a duo of cap-friendly defensemen who the Isles could target.

LD Kris Russell, Dallas Stars

  • 29 years old
  • 5-foot-10, 170 pounds
  • Tallied 4 goals and 15 assists in 2015-16
  • Tremendous shot-blocking ability

Russell is a confident shot-blocker who moves the puck with aplomb and can man the point on the power play. He’s been plagued by a lack of size and is prone to occasional mental lapses, but is a mobile puck-moving defenseman and shot-blocking specialist.

Andy Graziano linked him to New York in an article for Islanders Point Blank, writing that he is “a smallish defenseman (5’10)” but an “expert shot blocker” with “some offensive upside.”

LD Matt Bartkowski, Vancouver Canucks

  • 28 years old
  • 6-foot-1, 196 pounds
  • Tallied 6 goals and 12 assists in 2015-16
  • Big-bodied blueliner

He’s better than Brian Strait.

Has your attention been captured? Good. Because Bartkowski’s a legitimate option, according to sources.

The big-bodied blueliner skates very well and loves to get involved in the play. Bartkowski averages nearly two hits per game and has an impressive frame.

Scott Mayfield is the only bottom-pairing candidate with a plus-frame. Bartkowski would supply size, leadership and offensive prowess.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.