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The Checking Line: A look at the defense on the island

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
By Rob McGowan, The Checking Line

There had been talk since the start of free agency that the Islanders were going to look to add a top six forward as well as a top four defenseman. So far, General Manager Garth Snow has traded Trent Hunter to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for veteran winger, Brian Rolston. It was seen as mostly a cap floor move as his salary brings them closer to that goal, but he also will provide veteran leadership, a booming slap-shot and a top-six presence as long as he stays healthy.

But the defenseman has yet to be found.

The Islanders went into the off-season with six defenseman already under contract with Mark Streit, Andy MacDonald, Travis Hamonic, Mark Eaton, Mike Mottau and Milan Jurcina here for the 2011-2012 year. RFA Jack Hillen was released to free agency and has since signed a deal with the Nashville Predators. Bruno Gervais was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Radek Martinek signed a one-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ty Wishart and Dylan Reese were the only impending RFA's of the defense corps that were retained by the organization and will likely see most of their seasons with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, pending any injuries (and let's face it, we know they're coming).

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