Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt, who was activated off injured reserve today, has been placed on waivers.
The 34 year-old alternate captain, who has two goals and three assists in 42 games this year, is well known for his grit and toughness, but saw his ice time dwindle significantly throughout this season. Regardless, the move came as a surprise to Witt.
"I'm kind of shocked, but it is what it is," Witt said after practice.
Snow said the move is less of a knock on Witt's play and more of an indication of how far along some of the Islanders young defenseman have come and the organization's confidence in their play.
"The nature of the beast is that in hockey sometimes you have to make tough decisions and this was certainly one of them," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. "Everyone knows what Brendan brings to the table, he's a quality person and a fierce competitor."
If Witt clears waivers at noon tomorrow, he will report to Bridgeport.
" I guess I'll find out tomorrow at noon if I get picked up or if not, I guess see if I go to Bridgeport or stay here," Witt said. " I guess we'll discuss that tomorrow."
"I'm sure he's disappointed," coach Scott Gordon said. "But we're a team in transition."
It is believed that the Islanders tried to shop WItt, but had difficulty moving him because of the year remaining on his contract.
Witt, who has recently battled through a nagging knee injury, has not played since January 8 against Dallas.
"I played with my knee for awhile, but I'm not one to complain about injuries. More than anything I'm just kind of shocked," Witt said. "Now I'll just sit and wait."
Did he feel like he got a fair shot this year?
"I think so," Witt said. "I think I could've played better, but it is what it is. Did it deserve this? I don't know, but it's just the way the business is and I'll try not to take it personal."