Seeing who gets the call to get a chance to make a team via tryout is one of the rites of the fall when it comes to the NHL. Sometimes you’ll see an old goalie get the nod, other times it’s a guy trying comeback from injury. For the New York Islanders, they’re giving a former New Jersey Devil a shot to make a comeback in the league this time around.
Former Devils defensive forward specialist Jay Pandolfo is getting an invitation to Islanders camp where he’ll get a tryout and try to join up with former Devils teammate Brian Rolston. Pandolfo spent 13 seasons with the Devils but did not play in the NHL last year, playing in just 12 games with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL. Pandolfo and Rolston were teammates for five seasons in New Jersey. Rolston was more of the offensive player while Pandolfo was the guy on the third line being sent out to help shut down opponents top scorers.
If Pandolfo can recapture some of the play that helped him be one of the toughest defensive forwards in the NHL he can help the Islanders get a bit better defensively up front. As it is, Frans Nielsen is their lone standout defensive forward and he could use the help on his wing to give the Isles at least most of a line capable of battling the opponents top lines.
Realistically, however, Pandolfo is 36 years-old going on 37 and has more than likely lost a step in his play. If he can compete for a job and teach the Isles young forwards a thing or two about how to match up against opposing talent, then it’s an invitation to camp that will pay off in the end.