The Islanders have had discussions with Stephen Gionta about bringing him in for a training camp tryout, reports Arthur Staple of Newsday, who says both sides are confident a deal will get done.
The two sides are talking about a PTO.
Gionta, 32, has played parts of the last six seasons with the New Jersey Devils. In 270 games, he has posted 15 goals, 50 points, and a 47.1 Corsi For Percentage.
Why not? Gionta is fairly fungible player, and this would essentially be similar to when the Islanders brought in Steve Bernier last season. But in a year when the Isles think a youngster like Matt Barzal might be able to make the leap, I do think it would behoove the team to have a little insurance up front.
I can already anticipate some fans' consternation about Gionta blocking a younger player, but I don't think that's a problem. The Isles are ready to give a prospect a chance to run with a top-12 opportunity, and bringing in Gionta for depth certainly isn't going to change that.
Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Here comes the social media backlash on a player most likely ticketed for the Sound Tigers.
Let's not forget, the Islanders and GM Garth Snow still have an AHL team to fill out and took some losses to that depth this past summer. Gionta has little chance of making the Islanders' opening night 23-man roster with roadblocks galore in front of him, namely Barzal.
Remember, Gionta will be 33 years old by Opening Night, and has played a full NHL season twice over the past four years, one being the 2012-13 lockout shortened schedule. He's strictly a fourth-line player, and standing only 5'7, Gionta is not a threat to Barzal's opportunity. Nor is he any replacement for Ryan Strome, still unsigned with 13 days to go until training camp begins.
He's simply a role player who could be useful to the continued development of some of the young Sound Tigers, like Michael Dal Colle and Joshua Ho-Sang.