New York Islanders' statement win over Rangers inches them closer to playoffs
Feb 16, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan (44) celebrates after defeating the New York Rangers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When reviewing the season of New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan, we figure out that he was one true unsung hero for the club.

Just like several stretches during the 2016-2017 for the New York Islanders, defense was very frustrating for the team. The defensive unit was very streaky throughout the year and some veterans such as Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic had down years. But one bright spot that emerged during this past season was the improved play of Calvin de Haan.

In a defense filled with big names, Calvin de Haan often gets lost in the mix. The Islanders traded up to draft de Haan at 12th overall back in the 2009 NHL draft. The organization had a high ceiling for de Haan as they continued to build for the future of the team.

de Haan didn’t have flashy numbers during his first full three seasons in the NHL, posting a minus-one rating. But the 25-year old defenseman took a huge stride this past season, posting career bests across the stat sheet. He was one of three Islanders to play in all 82 games, with the other two being Josh Bailey and Jason Chimera. He scored five goals and tallied 20 assists for a plus 15 rating, all career highs for the Carp, Ontario native.

de Haan excelled in getting into shooting lanes and blocking shots. He finished the season with 190 blocked shots, fourth-best in the NHL.

de Haan’s improved play helped earn him a spot on team Canada for the IIHF World Championship that will be played in May.

What’s Next?

With the expansion draft looming for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, de Haan might be the Islander selected by them come June. If the Islanders go the route of protecting three defensemen, the first two will most definitely be Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, with the other spot going to Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic, or Calvin de Haan. Even though Hamonic had a down year, I believe that they will protect him, leaving Hickey and de Haan exposed. The recent re-signing of Dennis Seidenberg might show the sign that the Islanders management believes that they might lose a defenseman to the Golden Knights.

Coming off a big season it wouldn’t be very surprising to see Las Vegas select de Haan. He’ll be 26 at the start of next season, getting ready to head into his prime years of an NHL defenseman. It seems like a no-brainer to build a new franchise with a guy like that.

But it may not be de Haan. Many speculate it could be Casey Cizikas or Brock Nelson heading to the desert. Personally, I hope that de Haan stays in Brooklyn (or maybe Belmont), for the time being. He will continue to build on this past season and could become a great leader on this defense for years to come. But for now, I’m staying with my prediction that de Haan is the Islanders causality of the Las Vegas expansion draft.

I'm a recent graduate out of the University at Albany with a degree in Journalism. Lives in Farmingdale on Long Island. Passionate Mets, Giants, Islanders, and Notre Dame football fan. You can follow my Twitter at @Bsaur27.