New York Islanders: Potential Remaining Free Agent Targets, Part Two
Yesterday, we took a look at potential forwards that Garth Snow could still be targeting on the free agent market.
Today, we will take a look at some remaining defenseman that the Isles could have some interest in.
Three of the Isles current top six defenseman missed a significant amount of time last year. Radek Martinek only played in 51 games, Freddy Meyer only played in 21 games, and Andy Sutton only appeared in 23 games.
Meyer still has much to prove in the NHL, and Sutton and Martinek have been injury prone throughout their careers, so it would be a wise decision by Garth Snow to add another top six caliber defenseman to the line-up.
Here is a list of remaining defenseman, and their 2008-09 stats that Snow and the Islanders could have some interest in:
1. Dennis Seidenberg—5 Goals, 25 Assists, 30 Points, 70 Games
Seidenberg came into his own last year after a breakout season with the Hurricanes.
He averaged over 20 minutes a game, and would fit in well as a top four defenseman on the Isles depth chart. He would also be a good fit because he's guaranteed to get plenty of playing time on Long Island to prove last year was not a fluke.
Seidenberg is also only 28-years-old, and could be part of the Isles long-term plans. This is where Snow could make an exception, and offer a longer term contract because Seidenberg is still a young player.
Could be similar to the Mark Streit signing from last summer.
2. Martin Skoula—4 Goals, 12 Assists, 16 Points, 80 Games
Skoula has had a pretty steady NHL career. He can give you a little offensively, and he can give you minutes, as he averaged about 20 minutes of ice time last season for the Wild.
Skoula would definitely fit in the Isles current top six, and would most likely bump Freddy Meyer out of a spot.
Skoula also has never had any big injury issues, as he's played in at least 75 games in each of his nine NHL seasons. If Sutton or Martinek were to get hurt again at some point next season, and their histories' suggest they most likely will, than Skoula would be able to provide a stable presence in the line-up while either one is out.
3: Teppo Nummien—2 Goals, 15 Assists, 17 Points, 57 Games
Now I know Numminen's age at 41-years-old is unappealing. He has been a very good defenseman over his career though, and would add a veteran presence to the Islanders blue line.
Numminen can pitch in offensively, and his career plus/minus is a plus 56, so you know he is a responsible defenseman in his own end as well.
Could sign a one year deal to show he can still play, and the Isles could move him for a pick or prospect to a contending team at the trade deadline to a team in need of a veteran defenseman if the Isles are out of the playoff race.
Only concern here would be the overall age of the defense. Numminen is over 40, and Sutton, Witt, and Martinek are well over 30. This would make the blue line old, and injury prone, so I don't see the Isles going here unless they get desperate.
4. Christian Backman—2 Goals, 5 Assists, 7 Points, 56 Games
Backman has never been a big offensive defenseman, and would probably be the fifth or sixth defenseman if he were added to the Isles' current depth chart.
A concern I would have about Backman is the fact he has never played in over 70 games in any of his six NHL seasons.
Whether it's been injuries, or inconsistent play, Backman has had some trouble staying in the line-up.
After watching him play a handful of games with the Rangers two seasons ago, I saw him play well, but also struggle a lot of times too.
He is only 29 though, so he may be worth a flyer on a one-year deal, because he would get a chance to play on the Island. Their defensive prospects are not quite NHL ready yet, so they need someone to hold the roster spots until they are ready.
5. Gred De Vries—1 Goal, 4 Assists, 5 Points, 71 Games
De Vries would be a depth signing (we're bargain hunting here), and would only be a sixth defenseman on this team.
You can count on De Vries to be in the line-up though, because he has played in over 70 games in every year since the 2000-01 season.
He is a decent stay at home defenseman, who can step up and play some extra minutes if one of the top defenseman were to go down.
So there's my take on possible FA defensemen that the Isles could still be interested in. While none of these guys are star defensemen, any of them could step in and improve the Islanders' blue line.
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