Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.
We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.
Contract details via nhlnumbers.com and stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com.
4 - Dennis Seidenberg - Defenseman
6-0, 198 lbs
35 years old
Contract: $1.250m cap hit through 2017-18, unrestricted free agent
Season: 73 GP, 5 G - 17 A - 22 Pts, 32 PIM, 89 Shots, 19:26 TOI, 47.5 Corsi
Career: 831 GP, 44 G - 202 A - 246 Pts, 342 PIM, 1399 Shots, 20:50 TOI, 49.6 Corsi
Most of the consternation Islanders fans have about Seindenberg's 2016-17 season (and his subsequent contract extension) is the way he seemed to block Ryan Pulock from getting the call to the big club. But when Seindenberg's season is evaluated in a vacuum, I think GM Garth Snow got massive value from his annual low-risk investment in a veteran defenseman.
Seidenberg started the season with an uncharacteristic goal scoring touch (he netted four in his first 15 games). And when that eventually cooled down, he showed why Snow brought him in in the first place. A victim of high expectations in Boston that stemmed from a massive contract, Seidenberg was able to keep the forward momentum he had built up in the World Cup of Hockey, slide into New York's lineup, and play big minutes when the Isles needed it -- especially with injuries to Travis Hamonic and Johnny Boychuk.
From January to April, which just so happened to coincide with the Isles run that came up just short of a third-straight playoff berth, Seidenberg averaged 19:49 in ice time, as he posted over 20 minute averages in January, February, and April.
Over that time, he was able to allow Doug Weight to mix and match a little more on the blue line, and I think he was a great, calming influence for Calvin de Haan, who had the best season of his young career, as well as Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield, both of whom did very serviceable jobs when forced into action.
Do you think I'm being too giving in my review for Seidenberg? Consider that familiarity often tends to breed contempt. Look no further than Boston, where the Bruins and their fans have lamented parting ways with Seindenberg for nothing. Even Cam Neely suggested that he may have been wrong on his read that Seindenberg may be at the end of the line.
So whatever you think about Pulock's missed opportunity (and I happen to think that no veteran is going to block a blue chip prospect if the organization deems that prospect ready), it's clear that Seindenberg has plenty left in the tank.
IPB Grade: B+: Say what you want about a 35-year-old playing 20 minutes a game, but Seindenberg handled it wonderfully and didn't show any traces of old knee injuries that Boston thought were ending his career. Another year older, will he be able to handle a top-four role that he's currently slated for this season? That remains to be seen, but so far, the Isles have gotten plenty of bang for their buck.