New York Islanders recent waiver-wire acquisition Brain Strait has more than carried his own weight along the blue line, solidifying a spot that the Isles have had a hard time finding any type of consistency out of until this year.
There was a substantial amount of criticism directed at Garth Snow for patching up the glaring holes in the roster with waiver acquisitions, but that criticism has been silenced as all but one of those acquisitions have made a marked improvement with the Isles. Brain Strait is no exception.
After only six games Snow wasted no time in locking up Strait for a three-year $2.325 deal (via Arthur Staple of Newsday). At only 25 years old, Strait seemed slated to make the Penguins main roster, having played a decent amount of games last year, but he ended up being reassigned to the American Hockey League where he was claimed by the Islanders.
Strait has been more than consistent, managing an even plus/minus rating despite getting top-line minutes, a rare feat for anyone playing on the Isles until recently. If he can toss up a few assists and a goal or two, the deal turns into another one of Garth's golden waiver-pickups, worth every penny spent on a low cost and easy to move contract.
All part of building depth at this point, the Islanders have a vast wealth of sure NHL level players that are on the cusp of moving up with the big team, but for the first time literally in years, roster spots have to actually be cleared up and moving one player or another is getting more and more difficult because the quality of the defenseman has increased this year tremendously. Radek Martinek who is a very capable and reliable defenseman has yet to even dress for a game.
A crowded and able talent pool is always a plus and a staple of all successful NHL teams, and the Islanders are finally arriving where they need to be in depth to compete at a high level for years to come.
You can follow Mike Blazowski on Twitter @mikeblazowski for Islanders updates and talk!