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A Rock On The Blue Line

by Travis Betts / New York Islanders

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers defense could be one of the strongest in the American Hockey League this season. The team posted a plus-14 goal differential in 2011-12, good for fifth in the Eastern Conference, despite relying heavily on rookies like Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness.

Part of the glue that held the young defensive corps together was none other than Ty Wishart, who has played a season-and-a-half in the Islanders organization. The 2006 first-round draft pick is in the midst of his seventh professional Training Camp, and now, as one of the most experienced players on a young team at age 24, has taken charge as a leader on the Sound Tigers blue line.

“I just try to bring as much energy as I can to the dressing room and on the ice,” Wishart said. “I do lots of talking out there to help the young guys when they need it. I’ve been around longer than most of these guys so leading just comes with the territory.”

Wishart came to the Islanders organization through a trade from Tampa Bay on January 2, 2011, and split the second half of the 2011-12 season between New York and Bridgeport, playing 20 games in each location. Last season, he appeared in 71 games for the Sound Tigers, scoring 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) while also helping younger defensemen transition into their professional careers.

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