What will the Islanders do to replace Mark Streit?

sheldonsouray3.jpgWith Mark Streit out for the next six months for the Islanders after suffering a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum in his shoulder, the question now turns to what Isles GM Garth Snow will do to replace him on the roster. The Islanders present a fascinating situation for how to replace your best defenseman. They’ve got plenty of salary cap space if they want to trade for a big name/big salary guy who has run out of time or patience elsewhere but they’ve also got very young talent within the organization that, if they chose to, could let them get plenty of experience at the NHL level.

Who are the candidates to jump into the lineup for the Islanders? Let’s take a quick look through the names on our short list of candidates.

If the Isles are looking at a competing team to take one of their castoffs, the first name that has been mentioned all over the place is Edmonton’s Sheldon Souray. Unfortunately, not even the best of the rumor mongers can fight through the definitive answers that have been put out by everyone within the industry. Flat out, the Isles do not have interest in Sheldon Souray and Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank tells why.

No, the Islanders are not going to add more than $10 million in salary over the next two years for Sheldon Souray, an excellent power play gunslinger who should not be mentioned in the same sentence as Streit when talking about 30-minute, all-zone defensemen. Picking up Souray’s tab makes little sense, and the still-rebuilding Islanders know that. Consider it a longshot that the Islanders make a claim even if the Oilers place Souray on re-entry waivers. If Souray was on the final year of his contract, maybe. But he’s not, so…Next!

Moving right along.

This would seem like an ample opportunity to have the Rangers talk to the Isles about Wade Redden or the Devils about Bryce Salvador, but why would those rivals of the Islanders do something to help them out and why would the Isles take on all that salary when they don’t have to?

If Souray’s contract is a no-go with two years left, there’s no chance that Redden would be considered when he’s got four years left on his gigantic deal. Even if the Rangers were to bring him back through on re-entry waivers, there’s no chance the Isles would even bite then with the Rangers eating half of his salary.

One player to keep in the back of your mind that the Islanders are familiar with is Marc-Andre Bergeron. Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey makes mention of him as someone the Isles might take a look at. He can help reproduce the offensive production lost from not having Mark Streit around, but defensively he’s a bit of a nightmare.

andrewmacdonald1.jpgSo with these possible players from outside the organization getting looked at, the selection pool for replacements from within the organization is worth taking a look at as well. The name at the top of the list to get more time figures to be Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald has gotten some opportunities in the past with the Islanders, but never in an expanded role. He’s got a big shot from the point and plays an admirable kind of game.

Another name to keep in mind is the Islanders’ other 2009 first round pick Calvin de Haan. de Haan is just 19 years-old but he improved his game immensely last year in juniors and is doing well to hang in there in training camp. Mind you, the Islanders have yet to play a preseason game so it’s tough to gauge what he’s doing against his teammates in scrimmages, but he knows that the opportunity to make the team is there now with Streit out.

The Islanders have also brought Anders Eriksson into camp on a professional tryout, but if he’s their choice to help fill an empty position, fans in Long Island have reason to complain. Eriksson spent last year with the Rangers as a press box player. How Garth Snow handles how to replace Mark Streit will go a long way towards telling Islanders fans what he thinks of both the Isles system of players and the team’s chances of competing for a playoff spot are.

Going for a big name guy might sell it that they’re trying hard but it could ultimately backfire. Sticking with what you’ve got would give off the air of mailing in the season before it starts, but if that’s where the best fit comes from you can’t really hammer him over it. The best way to win over the court of public opinion is just win on the ice.

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    ‘It was a scary incident’: Colaiacovo returns to Sabres practice after dented trachea

    Carlo Colaiacovo
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    Carlo Colaiacovo‘s remarkably quick recovery from what appeared to be a serious injury continued on Monday, as he returned to practice roughly 48 hours after suffering a dented trachea.

    Colaicovo, who was hospitalized after taking a Viktor Arvidsson cross-check to the throat on Saturday, skated with his Buffalo teammates on Monday in advance of tomorrow’s game against Detroit.

    “I feel good,” Colaiacovo said, per the Sabres’ website. “Obviously it was a scary incident and at the time it was pretty painful but it is what it is.

    “Right now, it’s not really stopping me from doing much.”

    Though he said he’s still feeling pain in and around his throat, Colaiacovo is eligible to return to the Sabres’ lineup tomorrow.

    The 32-year-old, who has appeared in 15 games this season, would no doubt like to play tomorrow. It’d put him up against the same Detroit team that employed him during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, only to buy out his contract at the end of the year.

    Couture (fractured fibula) continues skating with Sharks, says return is on schedule

    Logan Couture
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    Some good news at Sharks practice today — Logan Couture continued to skate with teammates, just one week after returning to the ice from a broken leg suffered on Oct. 17.

    What’s more, Couture says he’s on schedule to meet the 4-6 week timetable for return.

    “[I’m] where I thought I would be at this point in time,” Couture said, per CSN Bay Area.

    While the 26-year-old wouldn’t put an exact date on his return, it’s clear both he and the Sharks are anxious for him to get back in the lineup — especially with the club surging, and Couture having only played in three regular-season contests this year.

    Looking ahead, there are some dates worth circling on the ol’ calendar.

    The Sharks have a relatively light week. After beating Calgary 5-2 on Saturday, they play just once in five days — Tuesday’s home tilt against the Penguins — before a weekend back-to-back set against the Ducks on Friday and Lightning on Saturday.

    The Ducks game is in Anaheim, but the following night’s contest against the Bolts is at the friendly confines of SAP. So that could be a potential date to watch for — but it is worth noting Couture said he’s still hesitant about getting into game action until his first step is back.

    “Until then, I’m not going to force my way out there and put myself in a bad spot,” he explained.

    Kesler believes Ducks are ‘too good to not be in the playoffs’

    Shane Doan, Ryan Kesler

    It’s been 24 games for the Anaheim Ducks, more than a quarter of the season, and still they’re having trouble winning.

    Friday against Chicago, they surrendered two goals in the last two minutes of regulation and lost in overtime.

    Currently, the Ducks sit five points out of a playoff spot with a record of 8-11-5.

    Still, forward Ryan Kesler is confident they’ll find a way into the postseason.

    “If we keep playing like we are, we’re going to get into the playoffs — this team is too good to not be in the playoffs,” Kesler told The Province ahead of tonight’s home game versus Vancouver.

    “We had a bad start and, to be honest, some guys weren’t ready to start the season. There’s a lot of hockey to be played and we’re ready for the challenge.”

    To match the 45-30-7 record the Flames squeaked into the playoffs with last year, the Ducks would need to go 37-19-2 over their next 58 games.




    Depends who you ask.

    Anaheim’s playoff chances will depend a lot on how Pacific Division teams like San Jose, Arizona, and Vancouver finish. The Ducks may need to leapfrog two of those three to get in.

    Yes, there’s always the chance four teams from the Pacific qualify, because it’s not like Colorado, Winnipeg, and Minnesota don’t have their problems. Even Nashville you have to wonder about lately. Heck, even Chicago isn’t assured of anything yet.

    Bottom line, though, the Ducks have dug themselves a hole, and it’s starting to look a lot like the one the Kings dug last year.

    In the NHL, even good teams don’t always climb out.

    Related: Boudreau does the playoff math, and it’s no ‘easy task’ for Ducks

    Video: Ryan Suter doesn’t seem very happy with his coach


    As you can see in the video, apparently Ryan Suter doesn’t like being paired with fellow lefty Jonas Brodin.

    The Wild defenseman rather openly questioned the coaching staff’s decision-making today after practice.

    “Yeah, I don’t know what they’re thinking,” said Suter. “I need to play with a right-handed defenseman. To give me more options. Neutral zone. Offensively. And even coming out of the D zone, it’s not fair to put a guy on his off side.”

    Suter didn’t know if the pairings were just for practice or not. The Wild play tomorrow in Chicago. Minnesota has just one win in its last seven games.

    Suter also had something to say about that.

    “It does no good to pout and get pissed off at each other,” said Suter. “You’ve got to come together and dig out of this. Now’s when you need leadership more than ever. It’s easy to be a coach and a leader when things are going good.”

    Yeo, by the way, has not been very happy with the Wild lately.  In fact, one could go so far as to say he’s been acting pretty “pissed off.”

    For example, at today’s practice:

    The Star Tribune has more on what went down today.

    Yeo, you may recall, went a little “nuts” during a Wild practice last season.