As the offseason comes to a close and training camp starting in less than a month, the Islanders have a very thin defense headlined with Ryan Pulock, Johnny Boychuk, and Nick Leddy. One option that the Isles have in order to help shore up the defense a little bit is to send out some PTOs, or professional tryout contracts, to players who are currently unsigned. Under a PTO, a player could participate in training camp with the Islanders, and at the end, they can decide if they want to sign him to a contract for the upcoming season. Here are three defensemen that the Islanders should consider bringing in on PTOs ahead of the season.
A familiar face to the Isles, Brandon Davidson spent the second half of last season in and out of the Islanders lineup. He was a restricted free agent going into the offseason, and the Isles chose to non-tender him, which made him an unrestricted free agent. In fifteen games as an Islander, Davidson scored one goal and tallied one assist, and prior to the trade, he scored three goals and tallied one assist in 23 games with the Edmonton Oilers, and one assist in thirteen games with the Montreal Canadiens.
He did receive a PTO from the Oilers earlier this week, but the Oilers signed former Capitals defenseman Jakub Jerabek to a one-year contract instead. Why would he be smart to accept a PTO from his former employer? Well, he may have a chance to sign a contract with the Islanders coming out of camp based on what Lou, Trotz, and crew see from him.
Acquired from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for forward Matt Puempel less than a month into the season, Sproul split time between the Rangers and the Hartford Wolf Pack last season (aside from five games with the Grand Rapids Griffins (1-3-4)), and just like Davidson, was not tendered an offer, changing his status from RFA to UFA. As a Ranger, he scored one goal and totaled five points in sixteen games, but with Hartford, he was much more productive. In 44 games, he scored ten goals and added fifteen assists.
Signing Sproul to a PTO would be a move that could make the Islanders front office look like they are geniuses (well, they already are). With a productive camp, Sproul may only want a two-way deal, so it may be easier for the Islanders to get him signed and also to assure that he wouldn’t mind heading to Bridgeport.
Why not add even more grit to an already gritty Islanders team? Well, Emelin would do exactly that. There isn’t much to say regarding Emelin but after spending five seasons with the Canadiens, he was drafted to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft, only to be dealt to the Nashville Predators. In 76 games last season, he scored one goal and tallied nine points with only 40 penalty minutes, which is uncommon for Emelin, who is known to be a highly-disciplined player.
Of the three defensemen, I believe Emelin is the least likely to sign a PTO, but it could be another option to add to the veteran leadership core that Lou and crew have already developed on the Island.
Who do you think the Islanders will ink to a PTO? Let us know by sharing your opinions in the comment section below or by taking your ideas over to our Instagram @drive4five.