Islanders claim veteran D-man Mike Reilly off waivers amid rash of injuries

Islanders Mike Reilly
Columbus Blue Jackets center Sean Kuraly (7) and right wing Mathieu Olivier (24) battle for position with Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Reilly (6) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

With their defensive ranks sapped by injury, the New York Islanders claimed veteran blueliner Mike Reilly off waivers from the Florida Panthers on Saturday. 

The 30-year-old left-handed defenseman has appeared in 341 career NHL games across nine pro seasons, appearing in just two games with the Panthers before he was put on waivers. Reilly appeared in 70 games with the Boston Bruins in 2021-22 — recording four goals and 13 assists in a career-high 70 games — before playing in just 10 last year. He was then bought out by Boston before getting picked up by Florida. 

He will join the Islanders on Sunday.

“The major reason [we picked him up] was the experience,” Islanders president and GM Lou Lamoriello said. “Three-hundred-and-fifty compared to 10, 15, or 20. It’s quite the difference.”

The Islanders are in desperate need of legitimate defensive depth following a costly 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Friday night. 

Islanders Sabres
Adam Pelech (3) (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Top-pairing defenseman Adam Pelech was placed on LTIR with an upper-body injury after he left Friday’s game less than three minutes in. Sebastian Aho departed just moments later with a lower-body injury, though his status for Saturday night’s game with the Philadelphia Flyers at UBS Arena. 

Samuel Bolduc, who appeared in 10 games but averaged fewer than 10 minutes per game during a relief stint while Scott Mayfield was sidelined, is also expected to slot back into the lineup in the interim. 

“It’s not that we have a lack of confidence in the defensemen in Bridgeport (AHL),” Lamoriello said. “It’s that we bring a more experienced person. We’re going to have a couple of young players in the lineup.”

It remains to be seen if Reilly will be available for Saturday night’s game. His $1 million cap hit will put the Islanders over the salary cap, but Pelech’s placement on LTIR allows them to exceed that number.

For more on Mike Reilly and the Islanders, visit AMNY.com

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