Good news, bad news sort of day for the Islanders — Lubomir Visnovsky has been cleared for action and will make his season debut tonight against the Bruins, but fellow blueliner Travis Hamonic will miss the game with a lingering upper-body injury, per Newsday.
So, the defensive pairings for tonight:
Johnny Boychuk-Nick Leddy
Brian Strait-Calvin de Haan
The state of the Islanders’ defense is, unsurprisingly, one of the bigger stories to start this season. GM Garth Snow made a pair of significant moves late in the preseason by acquiring Boychuk and Leddy, and both have paid immediate dividends: Boychuk sits tied for fifth among NHL defensemen in scoring (six points in six games) while Leddy is in the top-20 with four.
When healthy, the projected top six of Leddy, Boychuk, Hamonic, Visnovsky, Hickey, de Haan and/or Strait is one of the deepest in the Eastern Conference, especially when you consider Griffin Reinhart — the fourth overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — is down in AHL Bridgeport, along with a slew of fellow prospects: Ryan Pulock (15th overall, ’13), Scott Mayfield (34th overall, ’11) and Kevin Czuczman, the former NCAA standout that signed as a free agent last year and appeared in 13 games for the Isles.