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"Off The Post: Inching Closer to the Future"
Long Island, NY • United States • 25 Years Old • Male
I think now is a good time to address the young defensive players for the Islanders and how they seem to be doing. There are several of young, developing forwards, but really only two main defense-man that stand out with the near future, and a third that may end up as a contributor later in his career: Chris Campoli, Bruno Gervais, and Jack Hillen.

Chris Campoli

He has shown signs that he can be that clutch player on the back-end, contributing offensively when the team needs him too. That is evident with his OT-goal against Columbus (the one that counted, and heck, even the one that went through the net) and his game tying goal with barely under 2 seconds left against Buffalo. He has a pretty solid slapper when he gets to take it and a fairly accurate wrist shot as well. He has also shown that he isn't afraid to do the dirty work and take the body along the boards.

He hasn't grown much passed his first two seasons and that is partially due to injuries, but defense-man typically take longer to develop than other skaters. But with improvements in his physical game and defensive awareness, and fairly consistent offensive upside, it is easy to see a future #3 d-man. I know 15 points and a -14 in 45 games isn't very impressive, but with the exception of Mark Streit, no one has really contributed very much from the blue line this season. This then brings me to...

Bruno Gervais

Bruno used to have great years in the minors. In 2006 he put up 42 points in 55 games for the Sound Tigers. Since his NHL debut where he registered 3 goals and 4 assists in 27 games, he has only cashed in a total of 27 assists in 147 games played, only scoring a maximum of 13 assists in 60 games last year. Offense isn't everything, but for a guy who pretty much dominated the Sound Tigers blue line it is very surprising to barely see any improvement. He even looks frantic at times in the Isles defensive zone, making blind passes and getting caught out of position. It seems that he may have already reached his NHL potential.

However, he is here for the next three years. I'll be curious to see if the Isles will be able to fully commit to that contract patiently. If they do, hopefully Bruno will find a way to make what happened on AHL ice with that of the Coliseum's.

Jack Hillen

At this stage of the game there isn't too much to say about Hillen. He's young and straight out of college and putting up impressive numbers with the Tigers. So far he has 37 points in 41 games. He's also managed 60 penalty minutes, which shows he needs to learn to discipline himself if he hopes to find a regular roster spot with the Islanders. He was a highly sought after defense-man and is currently proving why. Hopefully it won't be long before he's a regular contributor for the blue and orange.

With the lack of production coming from the Isles defense-man, (and continuing to retain players that are constantly getting injured) Garth Snow may have to consider his options this off-season and try to determine who should stay and who should go.

Who knows, we may even see some changes come March 4th.

-Rob McGowan
Filed Under:   Islanders   NHL   Hillen   Gervais   Campoli   Snow  
February 3, 2009 7:02 PM ET | Delete
The Islanders need to bolster there D-man badly. They let up way to many goals and are up there in most shots allowed. Bruno hasn't scored a goal since the 2005-2006 season. Campoli has matured to be a very good defencemen but needs to show signs of consistanty. Hillen still has lots to prove in the NHL.
February 4, 2009 4:09 PM ET | Delete
Its pretty bad that there are only three guys we can talk about on this topic. The Isles' system is barren in the d-man department. Niemi, Ness and Hamonic are too young to consider and Katic seems like an ordinary prospect. There is nobody at the Bridge who's a highly regarded prospect. Hillen is okay, Kohn is okay, neither will ever be all-world. That's why part of me wants them to draft Hedman, but they can't pass on Tavares if they get the chance to draft him.
February 4, 2009 4:51 PM ET | Delete
Hmmmmmm....seems like history is repeating itself on the island. We pass up on a "sure-thing" in Luke Schenn for a run-of-the-mill forward that we could have gotten deeper in the draft. At least Milbury would draft the right defenceman (McCabe
February 4, 2009 7:25 PM ET | Delete
I hope that the Islanders think smart coming into the draft and hope they dont trade away there pick or move up in the draft. If that were to happen fans would give up on going to there games. I live near the Islanders stadium and whenever I go there is less fans every time I go. Also I am tired of Ranger and Devil fans ripping on Isles fans, they need to do something badly soon
February 4, 2009 8:39 PM ET | Delete
Can someone please figure out what kind of D men Brutal Gervais is? Its been three years now, and i dont know if he's an offensive d men or a defensive d men. His size and inability to move guys off the puck would lead me to believe that he's and offensive defensmen. But, I dont think he can even take a slap shot. He is a good skater, and a decent enough passer, but you have to have an identity. Campoli is ok, and for the most part I dont have a problem with him. I feel like he lacks the brain power, as seen by his poor judgment with passes on the blue line. All in all, I think that he does his job, and can play both ends of the ice. Radek Martinek was probably a forward somewhere down the line as a pee wee. He has very good offensive ability, and can skate well. Why Gordon insists on using Pock or Gervais on the PP instead of Martinek I will never know. Thomas Pock..........never liked him.......if he was anything to speak of, the Rags would have kept him. If it wasnt for all the injuries......he would never see the NHL ice. Witt is everything that you would want from a defensive d men. I think he is a warrior, and will be sad to see him go............the isles will trade him at the dealine.Andy Sutton skates well and has some offensive ability for a big man, but he needs to work on that skating. Love his shot blocking, and crease clearing ability. Mark Streit is the best player on the islanders. Great signing by snow......and the PP hasnt looked better in years. The ability to move the puck on the PP is key, and with Streit (and Weight) the isles are finally able to be a threat on the PP. As far as im concerned Streit is the only untouchable D men.Freddy Meyer has grown on me.........he's 5 ft nothing, and throws his body around. I would take him over Pock and day of the week. The isles still need to sign a dmen or two. Yes bridgeport is real thin with D prospects, but the isles did draft quite a few, and lets face it, they arent going to be contending for at least 3-4 years. If they are able to draft Tavares, its a no brainer..........he's as good as the hype.....just youtube him.
February 5, 2009 1:38 PM ET | Delete
I would like to see more of Hillen on the big club. It was an intriguing signing last season, and I am looking forward to seeing what we got. I like Campoli's play recently, but he has been rather inconsistant over the last couple of seasons. Gervais I will have patience for through next year, but if his positioning doesn't improve by then hopefully he will be packaged. I don't think it is wise yet (to the comment a few above) to say anything at all about Schenn vs. Baily. Baily has shown that he is not a run-of-the-mill forward and has spectacular passing ability. He has a ton of potential. He is 19 and played 1/2 of an NHL season, I wouldn't be so quick to judge.
February 5, 2009 3:06 PM ET | Delete
I agree with you about Bailey.........he has great vision. He and Okposo are gonna be a great one two punch. Bailey at 18 years of age, is already making SICK passes.
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