Matt Moulson and the New York Islanders landed two defensemen Friday night -- one for the future and one who is expected to help the club immediately.
Moulson doesn't know much about Griffin Reinhart, who the Isles selected with the fourth pick at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. But he's very familiar with Lubomir Visnovsky, as he and Moulson were teammates in Los Angeles during the 2007-08 season.
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"I thought it was a real good pickup for us," Moulson said of Visnovsky, who was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night in exchange for a second-round pick in 2013. "I had the chance to play with him a bit in L.A., and he's an extremely skilled defenseman. He's great on the power play, moves the puck well, skates well. He's a great guy. It's a good pickup for us. He's an offensive guy who will help us on the back end."
Visnovsky brings plenty of experience to the Isles' blue line. The 35-year-old has appeared in more than 700 NHL games and had 18 goals and 50 assists for the Ducks in 2010-11 -- his 68 points were the most of any defenseman in the NHL. He will help an Isles' power play that ranked eighth in the League in 2011-12.
"He's been in this League for a while," Moulson said. "He knows what's going on in the locker room and he knows how to play the game. It's nice to get a guy who has a couple of more years on us. Obviously, you need a good mix to have a championship-caliber team."
While there is no guarantee Reinhart (6-foot-4, 207 pounds) will play in the NHL next season, Islanders general manager Garth Snow certainly addressed his club's size issue Friday night. Reinhart joins a young defensive corps that includes Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness.
"We're in the process of maybe losing a couple of guys to free agency and we need to build that 'D' up," Moulson said. "Obviously, Reinhart is a big body, a skilled guy who competes hard. I thought that was a great pickup for us. You can never have too many great, young defensemen. I'm sure there will be a bunch of guys challenging for spots."
Moulson's career has blossomed since he signed as a free agent with the Islanders in 2009. Now a three-time 30-goal scorer, Moulson was free to sign with any team that summer after spending four seasons in the Kings' organization. He appeared in only 29 NHL games during that span.
However, the winger said he wasn't bitter when Los Angeles won its first Stanley Cup earlier this month. Of course, it helped that Moulson's brother-in-law is Kings goaltender and 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick.
"It would have been a lot tougher if Jonathan Quick wasn't the goalie," Moulson admitted. "I was extremely happy for him. I learned a lot when I was there and I don't really … maybe when you first leave somewhere, you have hard feelings. But those are kind of gone now, especially with him there. We're a tight family and we're extremely excited for him."
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