This season is going to be a very interesting one for the New York Islanders. The team has a very young, and somewhat unproven, defense working the blue line. There is one guy on the team that is going to be counted on to lead that young blue line, and that one guy is Lubomir Visnovsky.
Coming into this season, Visnovsky will be 37 years old, the oldest member of the Islanders blue line. The current blue line as it sits consists of Visnovsky, Brian Strait, Matt Carkner, Calvin de Haan, Joe Finlay, Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, Thomas Hickey and Aaron Ness. With what the Islanders have on their roster right now, the average age of the defense is 26.7 years old. And with the loss of former captain Mark Streit to the Philadelphia Flyers, Visnovsky really needs to step his game up to be a force and leader on this team.
In the history of the Islanders, they have had plenty of solid puck moving defenseman, ranging from Denis Potvin to Stefan Persson to Kenny Jonson to Bryan Berard to Adrian Aucoin to Streit. The list can go on for a while. As for the current roster, there is no argument that the best puck moving blue liner would be Visnovsky. He will be the one responsible for leading the breakouts, and he will be the quarterback on the power play. With Streit gone, Visnovsky is going to have to take over a large chunk of the play.
This is not to say that there aren’t good defensmen on the Islanders, because there are. But I think it is safe to say that Visnovsky is the most experienced blue liner of the group. Yes, I know he hasn’t been with the Islanders all that long, having played only 35 games for the team last year. We do know he has plenty of experience in the NHL, having played for three different teams before coming to Long Island. Including last year, Visnovsky has 120 goals and 344 assists for 464 points in 806 career games. Visnovsky doesn’t have as much experience in the playoffs, but neither do many of the other guys on this Islanders club.
Facts are he is probably the best option for getting the Islanders offense going from their own end. Visnovsky can chew up a ton of minutes, averaging 22:48 a game, trailing only Streit and MacDonald on the Islanders in that department. With a good shot, great skating ability and sublime passing skills, Visnovsky is going to have an impact on this Islanders team. It looks like MacDonald and Hamonic will be the Islanders’ top D-pair this upcoming season, at least on paper they will be. With all due respect to those two guys, Visnovsky is going to be counted on a lot more to carry the load on the blue line with Streit now gone.
Can Visnovsky deliver for the Islanders? There is no doubt in my mind he will be the top man on the blue line for the Islanders this season. Now it’s going to be interesting to see what the Islanders do to get the blue line set by opening night.