Today the Islanders picked up Thomas Pock, a young offensive minded defenseman who in 59 games played in the NHL has recorded 7 goals and 7 assists for 14 points. In the AHL of last season, he ranked 11th in the league for assists by a defenseman with 37, tallying 44 points overall.
Not a bad pickup if you ask me. But what is the meaning behind this? We already had 7 defenseman committed to next year's roster with Witt, Martinek, Sutton, Campoli, Gervais, Streit, and Meyer. Jack Hillen, the young d-man straight out of college that made an impressive debut in an Isles/Rangers home-and-home at the end of last season, had been recently pushing for a roster spot as well.
With a newly enforced NHL injury policy it's been hard to tell what actually has been going on the Islanders locker room. The injuries haven't been reported to the media, but it has been stated that Chris Campoli and Andy Sutton will most likely be in the press box for the season opener. Let's keep in mind it's very possible Ricky might be sitting right next to them.
Anyone pumped for the start of the season yet?
If you were a fan last year, you obviously know that these early injuries, particularly to our goalie and defense core, are something to be concerned about. Campoli and Sutton both had their seasons ended early, as did Witt, Sillinger, Comrie, and DP (I may be forgetting more - that's how long the list was) as well as players like Gervais and Martinek missing a credible amount of playing time.
Hence why Snow has picked up Pock. With two d-men down and having seven in training camp, Gervais can slide into a spot without a problem. It appears that the Isles may be more in favor of Pock being the 6th than Hillen. The fact that Pock has a one-way deal implies that as well, meaning that once Campy and Sutton return (however long that may take) Pock may be riding the bench. Does Aaron Johnson ring a bell?
If you ask me the Isles got a serviceable depth defenseman that fits the mold of the youth movement. He seems to have the tools to eventually contribute as a full-time d-man. A few Ranger fans that I spoke to were actually disappointed to see him go at a young age, citing that due to a filled roster he would've wasted time in the minors.
Whatever he will develop into remains to be seen, but let's hope that he can get the job done on the blue line when called upon. Heck, he might not have to wait that long, so with that being said let's hope this team actually can stay reasonably healthy for the majority of the year, what do you say?