Skip to content

Is Filip Kuba the answer for help on defense for the Islanders?

Aug 29, 2011, 5:57 PM EST

Filip Kuba Getty Images

Making a trade that works out to be a marriage of convenience happens every now and again in the NHL. We saw one agreed to today between Calgary and Phoenix, and while it’s rare when it does happen, things can work out that way sometimes.

Could we see a pair of Eastern Conference teams work out an agreement that helps each other out in the best of ways before the season starts? If idle speculation and making sense out of current situations occurs, we could.

The New York Islanders are believed to be in the hunt for an experienced defenseman to solidify their blue line corps. Islanders Point Blank’s Chris Botta says the team is snooping around to see what they can find but are having a tough time finding solid options at the moment. With guys like Mark Streit, Mike Mottau, and Mark Eaton all coming back from injury and guys like Milan Jurcina, Andrew MacDonald, Ty Wishart, and Travis Hamonic battling for the other three spots on defense there’s more question marks than there are answers and getting a veteran presence would go a long way for New York.

The Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren opines that the Senators can offer up someone perfect for the taking in Filip Kuba because GM Bryan Murray may have some tough moves to make during training camp thanks to a couple of youngsters making themselves known in David Rundblad and Jared Cowen.

Murray would likely jump at the opportunity to unload Kuba, who has one year and $3.7 million remaining on his contract.

Kuba was plagued by injuries and uninspired play last season.

Even if the Islanders believed he might rebound, he would be an expensive gamble for any team. There are also a few veteran defencemen who remain unrestricted free agents, including Bryan McCabe and ex-Islander Chris Campoli, but Long Island is a Long Lost destination in the minds of many players.

Well that’s a bit of a dire take for the Islanders especially given that they’re likely going to be a tougher team to deal with thanks to the host of their younger talent getting more adept at handling the NHL game. Besides, it’s not as if the Senators are shaping up to be monsters themselves. Their defensive unit could use the new blood that Rundblad or Cowen can provide given how poorly Sergei Gonchar played last year.

Gonchar along with steady veteran Chris Phillips, exciting offensive defenseman Erik Karlsson provide a decent top three of their own but elsewhere? Dicey. Matt Carkner is physical but not solid positionally and Brian Lee is as big a bust of a first round pick as there has been in the last ten years. Kuba is a decent player in that mix, but flawed… Just like the rest of the bunch.

If nothing else, seeing Garth Snow deal for Kuba would be a surprise. Kuba’s price tag is high, he’s an older player (turns 35 in December), and while he could help out with his big shot on the point, he’s an injury worry after missing 47 games the last two seasons in Ottawa. The last thing the Isles would need is to bring in a guy with injury problems after letting previous injury-prone guys like Radek Martinek walk in free agency.

Making such a move goes against what we’ve seen out of Snow in the past and for the kind of youth building he’s doing in New York, giving a shot to guys like MacDonald to improve and to see what Wishart and Hamonic actually have as well as taking a long look at Calvin de Haan in training camp makes a lot more sense. After all, if the answers aren’t there right away in camp, Snow would be better off waiting to see who hits the waiver wire first before swinging a deal for a high-priced guy like Kuba.

  1. bcisleman - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Generally hard to argue as far as Kuba. Certainly wouldn’t give up anything for him. The NYI seem a lot more settled on defense than Yerdon thinks anyway. Streit obviously is the #1 although there is some cause for concern that he, Eaton, and Mottau will be fine. MacDonald has established himself as a very solid 2nd pair guy and Hamonic works very well in tandem with him. Eaton and Jurcina will be a very good third pair and Mottau is fine as a reserve with De Haan, Wishart, Katic, and others in reserve in Bridgeport. The need is for a solid #2. Garth sought to fill that need with Ehrhoff. BUF’s signing of Ehrhoff as well as Sekera and Gragnani may make an opening. BUF needs to shed cap dollars and trading Jordan Leopold would go a long way to getting them where they need to be. Apart from that, Garth will likely give Wishart and De Haan long looks at the #2 spot as well as Jurcina.

Featured video

More than a Stanley Cup hangover?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (4188)
  2. B. Bishop (3433)
  3. D. Krejci (2578)
  4. C. Crawford (2570)
  5. C. Kunitz (2471)
  1. C. Perry (2240)
  2. O. Palat (2164)
  3. B. Elliott (2096)
  4. T. Oshie (1889)
  5. M. Cammalleri (1646)