Free agent signings by the New York Islanders are difficult to officially pin down, given how the team refuses to announce them, but at least one more player is expected to end up there. Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reports that Paul LaDue will sign with the Islanders, though does not give any contract details.
LaDue, 29, signed a one-way contract with the Washington Capitals for last season, but ended up spending the entire year on the practice squad or in the minor leagues. He didn’t suit up for a single NHL game, the first time that has happened since turning pro in 2016. Originally a sixth-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in 2012, LaDue played three years for the University of North Dakota, winning a national championship in 2016.
At the NHL level, he’s played in 71 total games, all with the Kings and registered 19 points. The 6’2″ defenseman is a valuable depth piece, even if he has yet to prove he can handle a full-time role. With the Islanders, it’s unclear where LaDue fits in exactly, given how uncertain their depth chart is at this point. The team could very well have other players who have agreed to contracts that will be battling for those last few spots, or perhaps things are setting up for LaDue to secure a roster spot out of camp.
Even if he doesn’t secure that roster spot, LaDue represents solid injury insurance as the team attempts to go on another long playoff run.