After Mark Streit's Injury, New York Islanders Need D-men To Step Up, Fill Void

Mike Stainkamp@mikestainkamp34Contributor ISeptember 30, 2010

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 08:  Mark Streit #2 of the New York Islanders prepares for a face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena on April 8, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Penguins defeated the Islanders 7-3.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Mark Streit can't be replaced without some miracle trade, but we all know that the Islanders aren't the big-name trade type team. With the injury to Streit crushing the team's hopes of making the playoffs this season, an opportunity has risen for veterans brought in through free agency, and the younger Islanders.

For young players such as Calvin de Haan, Travis Hamonic, and Dylan Reese, as well as newcomers James Wisniewski, Mark Eaton, and Milan Jurcina, this is their chance to step up and prove to the organization why they are part of the team. Reese, Hamonic, and de Haan are long shots to make the roster, but they have played well throughout camp and earned the opportunity.

The free agents the Islanders brought in have already proven themselves elsewhere, but will be called upon to step into Streit's vacant leadership role.

John Tavares will also be asked to preform at a higher level this season now that Kyle Okposo will miss time due to a shoulder injury. The Islanders' hopes for the playoffs seem to be dwindling, even before the puck is dropped on the season.

All in all, the Islanders will be asking a lot from players who have much talent and are capable of fulfilling their roles. Tavares will be a leader on offense, and on the defensive side, Eaton and Wisniewski will take the reins.

With Rick DiPietro showing some heart and health in goal during camp, he may be another key for the Islanders if they want to contend this season. Dwayne Roloson isn't a good enough starting goalie to take the Islanders into the playoffs. The Isles will need DiPietro to step up and play a significant role this season.

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