Today, we will continue by looking at the top 6 defensemen:
photo by zimbio
1) Johnny Boychuk
If he can stay healthy, these numbers should easily be achievable for Boychuk in his second season with the Islanders.
2) Nick Leddy
Leddy is an interesting case to watch this season. Where as Boychuk is in his prime already, Leddy is still only 24 so it is a bit of a mystery as to exactly how good he can be. After setting a career high in goals last year, and tying his career high in points I fully expect his game to continue to mature playing alongside Boychuk.
photo by ESPN
3) Travis Hamonic
Last year was a bit of a breakout offensive season for Hamonic setting a career high in goals, assists, and points. While he won't have the offensive production of Leddy, I think he will continue to settle in as a rock on the Islanders blue line that we all hope he will become.
4) Calvin De Haan
This is a big year for De Haan! After struggling last year, he needs to grow past that or he might find his time in the lineup limited to say the least.
5) Marek Zidlicky
Zidlicky wasn't acquired by the Islanders for his stellar play at even strength. Although he is 39 now, Zidlicky is still very valuable on the power play where he put up 20 points last season split between the Devils and the Red Wings. I see no reason why as long as he remains in the lineup he won't put up similar production this year.
6) Thomas Hickey
I feel like Hickey is in a similar boat to De Haan. While Hickey didn't struggle nearly as much as De Haan did last year, if Hickey can't keep his play at an acceptable rate he might find himself in the press box before long.
Guys Who Could See Time:
1) Brian Strait
Much to the chagrin of most Islander fans, Brian Strait is still with the team heading into the season. Due to an injury to Thomas Hickey, he will likely be in the opening night lineup which I am sure will be well received by the faithful at Barclays Center.
photo by zimbio
2) Ryan Pulock
Pulock is an interesting guy to watch this season. Having broke camp with the team but starting the season as a likely scratch is a little surprising to me. When he is eventually given a chance I fully expect him to run with it and not look back.
3) Scott Mayfield
After impressing in his brief playoff stint last year, I would suspect that it won't be terribly long before we see Mayfield in some way or another at this level. His edge, combined with offensive ability would be a welcomed addition to the lineup.