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by Jason Lockhart / New York Islanders
New Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton adds a key piece to the defensive corps

The Islanders newest acquisition, 6-6 defenseman Andy Sutton, is ready for a fresh start on Long Island. After five solid seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers, he’s excited about joining an Islanders team prepared to make some noise in 2007-08.

“The Islanders are obviously a great organization,” said Sutton on Saturday in a phone conversation. “I’ve turned the corner and it’s time to start competing for the Stanley Cup. There have been some great acquisitions by the Islanders this summer to go along with a first-class coaching staff and management.”

Islanders fans should be excited to see a hard-working defenseman with a knack for laying down the body in front of shots.

“You can expect me to play my hardest every night,” said Sutton. “I always sacrifice my body for the good of the team and will do everything in my power to keep the puck out of our net.”

But Sutton is looking to contribute more than just right in front of Rick DiPietro. Chipping in offensively won’t be surprising for the Kingston, Ontario native, who has eclipsed the 20-point mark three times in the past four seasons.

Sutton joins an Islanders team with a couple of familiar faces. He played with Richard Park during his days with Minnesota and more recently played on the Thrashers with another recent signing, Jon Sim.

“It’s always good to have people that you know when you come to a new team,” said Sutton. “But all the guys in this league are very welcoming and willing to embrace the new players. When you walk into a new locker room it’s like 20 new friends, instantly. The NHL is a very tight-knit group.”

While Sutton has never played under Ted Nolan, he has heard nothing but positive things about the Islanders’ second-year head coach.

“I’ve been told Ted is a players’ coach who gets the most out of his players,” said Sutton. “I’ve heard he’s firm but fair and appreciates hard work, grit and determination. Those are all the main ingredients of a winning team.”

Born in Canada, Sutton has only spent time on Long Island during his visits to the Nassau Coliseum, but appreciates the nice mixture of its beautiful setting along with it’s proximity to New York City.

For Sutton, his transition to Long Island and the Islanders locker room should be seamless. He’s a perfect fit on an Islanders blue line that has an excellent combination of veterans, youth, speed and size.

“Coming to Long Island is an exciting new opportunity,” said Sutton. “The Islanders are an established team. This is a great chance to be a part of a winning team.”

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