As the New York Islanders attempt to prolong their season, a couple of young defensemen are having sneakily effective campaigns.
On Sunday, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced the acquisition of Parker Wotherspoon.
For most, this move was just a blimp on the radar. But looking at the big picture, it’s yet another example of the rapid maturation of an Islanders defensive prospect.
Since the 2011 NHL Entry Level Draft, general manager Garth Snow has picked twenty defensemen, two of whom — Scott Mayfield and Adam Pelech — are in the NHL. Another six — including Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews — have recently joined the professional ranks.
Basically, the Isles’ pipeline is flowing with defensemen.
There’s recently been an increased focus on the team’s forward prospects — Joshua Ho-Sang and Mathew Barzal, Michael Dal Colle and Anthony Beauvillier — and rightfully so. But the blueliners have been en fuégo as of late, notching a bevy of accolades and earning a slew of promotions.
Chieftain amongst these is Pulock, the shoot-first defenseman who has spent the season posting big numbers with Bridgeport. But he, like the rest of his counterparts, is unproven, leaving the Isles with an intriguing choice: What to do in the offseason?
Should one of these highly-touted youngsters be exchanged for, say, a top-flight forward? That’s the question the front office will be faced with.
The Islanders travel to Nashville to take on the Predators on Tuesday night. It’s a pretty insignificant game, unless the Isles’ prayers are answered and pretty much everybody else loses. That being said, Doug Weight’s squad isn’t going to quit. They’re riding Jaroslav Halak in net and will dress seven defensemen (Shane Prince is out with a lower-body injury).
Connor Jones made his NHL debut on Sunday night, and it was a family affair. His brother and minor-league teammate, Kellen, was present, as were his ultra-proud parents (they were really excited).