Out of all the New York Islanders, the one happiest to have Dennis Seidenberg on the blue line is Johnny Boychuk.
They're old friends and old defense partners, dating back to their time together with the Boston Bruins, where they won the Stanley Cup together in 2011.
"He's good," Boychuk said of Seidenberg. "I won a championship with him, he's a solid defenseman and he can play both sides. It's going to be good to have him back on the same team. I'm looking forward to him being an Islander."
Boychuk and Seidenberg played together for four-and-a-half years (2009-10 to 2013-14) even hitting the ice as D-partners in 2010-11. He said the 35-year-old takes his conditioning very seriously, so age shouldn't be an issue, and that the Islanders can expect a rugged defenseman who can play in all situations.
"He plays hard, he's a big body," Boychuk said. "He's a solid defenseman. He can play both sides, which is big for anybody I guess. He's been around, he's won with me before and hopefully we can do the same here."
Jack Capuano likes to have an even split of left-and-right-handed defensemen in his lineup and the Islanders had four lefties and four righties at camp prior to Seidenberg's signing. The newest Islander is a lefty, but has a demonstrated ability to play on both sides, offering Capuano a piece he can drop in on either side.
"It's depth to our hockey team," Capuano said. "It's a guy who's played in some big-time games and not only as a left-shot defenseman does he just play the left side, he's playing the right side. He's playing the right side now with Roman Josi over at the World Cup, too. We're about leadership, we're about a good group and I think he'll fit in just fine with our group."
Seidenberg's signing gives the Islanders nine defensemen at camp, with seven on one-way contracts (Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are still on entry-level deals). That means that only one of the Islanders' three young defensemen - Pulock, Pelech and Scott Mayfield - can realistically make the team unless other moves are made to clear room. (The Islanders currently have three goalies and 14 forwards on one-way contracts and the maximum number of spots on an active roster is 23.)
"My whole philosophy - ECHL, AHL, NHL - is never rush a player," Capuano said of his young defensemen having to spend more time in Bridgeport. "If you're not ready for the NHL, there's no rush. I believe you have to develop a certain way. It is a little bit tougher for goalies and defense."
Seidenberg is currently with Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey Final, so he's still a few days away from hitting Long Island. He reportedly had as many as nine teams interested, but Boychuk helped nudge him towards the Islanders, informing him about the team's new facilities and the Long Island way of life.
"I talked to him a couple of times already and he's pretty excited to be here," Boychuk said. "I told him about our new practice arena just what was going on around here, how there's a lot of good things going on and the good team that we have. Just stating the obvious."