Monday, September 15, 2008

That hole at center

With the Islanders so thin at center, Mike Sillinger's slow recovery from hip surgery is, well, not happy news. Richard Park can do Sillinger's role, but with scoring power scarce at center it's nicer to have Sillinger there while Park serves a jack-of-all-lines role.

Frans Nielsen showed wonderful hockey intelligence last season, and I have hopes for him making further strides this year; it'd just be nice to have more flexibility for who plays where, especially when another injury arises. I believe Ben Walter provides less of the same, although he may get a bigger chance. (update: Logan says in their discussion, coach Gordon curiously omitted Walter's name: judgment on past exposure -- the Bruins did deal him, after all -- or oversight? Hmmm...)

But we can't really hope for help from outside. The unsigned market of centers is pretty nonexistent, beyond Mats Sundin (ha) and Peter Forsberg (double-ha) -- neither of whom would come to the Island at this point, and Forsberg, if he played, would probably get fewer games in than Sillinger will this season.

After that ... uh, did Jason Allison ever retire? I think had him on every single team last year, which of course never happened. Fellow faceoff man and Sillinger-esque traveler Yanic Perrault is still out there, as best I can tell. Old friend Shawn Bates doesn't have a team, though he and Sillinger could trade notes on hip injuries. Speaking of nostalgia, Randy Robitaille has signed with Lugano in Switzerland.

So barring a trade, we're stuck with the depth we have. Get well soon, Mike!

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