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Isles claim defenseman Strait off waivers, suspend Visnovsky

Jan 18, 2013, 1:08 PM EDT

Brian Strait Getty Images

As they are wont to do, the New York Islanders have claimed a player off waivers.

This time it’s defenseman Brian Strait, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Strait has just 12 games of NHL experience, having spent most of his pro career in the AHL. The 24-year-old had no points in 26 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. (More of a defensive defenseman, we presume.)

The Islanders have also officially suspended defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky for failing to report. The 36-year-old has said he’ll join the team in a couple of weeks once his son’s health issues are resolved.

Visnovsky was hoping to play the entire season in his native Slovakia with his hometown team Bratislava; however, his request was rejected due to an agreement between the KHL and NHL that says each league must honor the other’s contracts.

Related:

Isles claim Keith Aucoin off waivers

Isles claim former Kings first-rounder Hickey off waivers

  1. f2maestro - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    As a Pens fan, this stings a little.

    Enjoy him NYI; I know we would have sooner or later.

    • islesjb - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      glad to hear a Pens fan thinks this guy has some promise; I know very little about him.

      Regarding Visnosky- good. Team could have used his skillset but he would have been more trouble than he’s worth.

      • bcisleman - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Visnovsky has been suspended, but he will still be coming to the Isles. The suspension may hasten his coming as I assume his salary will be docked accordingly. Sounds like Strait offers good defensive depth.

      • islesjb - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        yeah I guess I jumped the gun and the suspension was put in action to make room for an additional roster spot.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      I agree – I thought it was a risk letting him through waivers and sure enough he’s gone now.

      I never thought Strait’s ceiling was higher than a third-line Dman, but I thought he would fit that role perfectly. Solid, stay at home defenseman, who can break up odd man rushes and play a fairly physical brand of hockey.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:52 PM

      Agreed – just ran out of time; the bigger story may be that he just got squeezed out by Bortuzzo!

  2. ewoods6 - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Big Pens fan here and he definitely will be a very solid, scrappy player. Won’t score goals at all, but he is a grinder.

  3. bcsteele - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Wow, it must be true what someone posted a couple days ago about the other claim the Islanders made…

    “It’s not sent back to minors anymore, its simply sent to NYI.”

    • bcisleman - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      Wiseass all you want, but Garth Snow is a proactive GM. If he sees a player who can help his team, he gets him whether by waivers, FA or trade.

    • tuberippin - Jan 19, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      Seemed to work out pretty good with Michael Grabner

  4. killerpgh - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I would love to hear why Shero sent Strait down instead of Lovejoy. It’s not a huge lose losing Strait as the Penguins have a bunch of guys that can fill that 3rd pairing/7th d spot, but Strait looked like he was still getting better while Lovejoy has topped out.

    • f2maestro - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      I couldn’t agree more. Ben seems like a good guy and is an OK hockey player, but Strait had/has potential to be a solid D man, even if he isn’t cut out for a top 2 role. Shero almost always has a reason for the moves he makes and I don’t suspect this to be any different but I’m not entirely sure what the organization gains by losing him to waivers, but you never know with Shero.

    • bmscalise - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      The answer to that question is simple: Lovejoy is on a one-way contract. They would have had to pay him as an NHLer if he cleared waivers.

      Lovejoy will be gone next year regardless, and the Pens have 8 D-men on the big team now. They may be biding their time to try and trade him for a low pick to someone who needs help. And Lovejoy has the most NHL experience by far.

      And while it stinks to lose Strait for nothing – how many third pairing d-men do the Pens need? They clearly like Bortuzzo – his height and nasty streak – better than Strait. There’s already 4 3-pairing guys on the big club. Dumoulin may be ready soon – and perhaps even a guy like Philip Samuelsson, who has improved significantly over the last year. None of these guys project to be more than 3rd pairing. And Dylan Reese, who has NHL experience, is in WBS as well, if they need a call up.

      Lastly – my guess is that Lovejoy is much better this year, when he plays. He was hurt large chunks of last year, missed training time, and never really got a groove going. Given his experience – and with the understanding that two of Bortuzzo (RFA), Strait (RFA), and Lovejoy (UFA) would be gone next year anyway for lack of room – Lovejoy’s experience was probably the better choice.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:00 PM

      I agree, I’m not a lovejoy fan – but I think they are using him as a one year band- aid (or a ‘ just- in- case guy), and based on that he’ s got more NHL experience than Strait and also has an offensive upside. Hate to see him go, or would have at least liked to see the Pens deal him, even if its just for a late pick.

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