The Islanders swept their split squad preseason finale in Ontario last night beating the Senators in both Kanata and Barrie by respective scores of 4-1 and 5-2. The Barrie game saw Johan Sundstrom notch a pair of goals (Tavares, Okposo, and Justin Johnson all added goals as well), and the fireworks lit up in Kanata with Riley Wetmore (off a ridiculous set up by Kirill Kabanov), Ryan Pulock, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome all picking up goals.
As good as it is to see the Islanders sweep a ridiculously deep team like the Senators (whose man games lost last season should have put them in the Draft Lottery, yet they finished higher than the Islanders), the story last night quickly turned into the loss of Travis Hamonic to a boarding incident involving the nights 4th line C for the Sens in Barrie: Derek Grant. Without streaming of the game in Barrie, we're unsure of the extent of the injury, but Hamonic's currently listed as needing re-evaluation today. So it's unclear the potential impact such an injury will have. The Islanders were likely going to begin the year with either Matt Donovan or Griffin Reinhart taking the final spot on Defense, an injury to Hamonic might change things as it may call for a more experienced hand if he's out long term. The 23 year old blueliner is entering the first year of his newly signed 7 year pact with the Isles.
In terms of on hand talent, the Islanders could turn to Joe Finley, if he clears waivers this afternoon, but this doesn't seem plausible. If the injury is short term (under 10 games missed), you could see Griffin Reinhart make the team before being returned to the Edmonton Oil Kings; but if not, Reinhart and the team may be best served going back to the WHL. If the Injury is a long term concern, there's few internal options and the team would be best served claiming John-Michael Liles, as I alluded to yesterday. He's the best option available on the wire, and there's no way the Islanders are going to find a PTOed Defenseman who didn't make the team a la Anton Strahlman this year.
This presents a tough wait and see as waivers expire at noon, and the Isles may very well not know what Hamonic's condition is until mid afternoon. Also a factor: NHL Rosters must be finalized by 5pm today. This presents a tough guage to follow as Hamonic's situation hazes things up a bit.
More later when the Islanders announce their final roster, and announce Hamonic's condition.