Last night the Islanders re-signed defender Ty Wishart to a one-year, two-way deal. The 24-year old Wishart spent all of last year in the AHL aside from one game and was the fourth call up for the Islanders. He fell behind fellow Sound Tigers Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness on the list of callups. It’s looking like Wishart may never crack the NHL, now with a whole lot of just drafted defensive talent waiting in the wings (but that should put all the Isles defense prospects on notice). Nonetheless, even if his shot at the big league is fading fast Wishart is helpful in Bridgeport logging significant minutes over 71 games last season.
This gives us as good a spot as any to stop and look at what the Islanders’ defensive depth looks like coming into next season. Entering the off-season the team only had three NHL defenders signed to contracts (Streit, Hamonic, AMac). That left a lot of room for maneuvering if the team wanted to go in a different direction. Almost three weeks removed from the draft and the start of free agency, things do look a bit different. Here’s what the NHL lineup could look like:
Streit – Visnovsky
Hamonic – Macdonald
Carkner – ?
Right now the Islanders defense is mostly set with the 6th and possible 7th spots up for grabs at camp, in my opinion. That will likely be left for a battle between Donovan, Ness and de Haan whom all got a call up last year. In addition to that trio, the Islanders also have Marc Cantin, Jon Landry and now Wishart under contract, all of which will start the year in Connecticut. One interesting thing to watch for is if the Islanders will come to an agreement with Brenden Kitchon on an ELC. Kitchon had an excellent year in Spokane (WHL) and at 20 years old should be ready to make the jump to a pro deal.