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Islanders look forward to Dennis Seidenberg’s versatility

The Islanders bolstered their defensive depth by signing veteran Dennis Seidenberg to a one-year, $1-million deal on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. The next day, coach Jack Capuano and several Islander players talk about what the addition of Seidenberg means for the team. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

The Islanders’ newest addition didn’t make it down to training camp on Thursday. Dennis Seidenberg was still in Toronto, trying to keep Team Europe alive in the World Cup final against Canada. But his impact is already a topic of discussion with the Isles.

“When we talked about him, it’s depth to our team, a guy who’s played in some big-time situations,” Jack Capuano said of the 35-year-old Seidenberg, who signed a one-year, $1 million contract on Wednesday. “Not only can he play the left side, he’s playing the right side up there right now with Roman Josi. We’re about leadership, we’re about a good group so he’ll fit in just fine. It’s good to have a guy that’s comfortable playing either side. If it’s necessary, that’s a good option.”

Seidenberg reportedly had up to nine NHL teams showing interest in signing him after the Bruins bought out the final two years of his contract on July 1. The German-born defenseman has some friends on his new team — fellow German Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak, two of Team Europe’s three goaltenders, as well as Johnny Boychuk, who was Seidenberg’s primary defense partner in 2010-11, when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup.

“I talked to him a couple times already. He’s pretty excited to be here,” Boychuk said. “I told him about our new practice arena, just what was going on around here, a good team we have. Just stating the obvious, basically.”

There was some thought that Seidenberg’s signing reflected an ominous situation for Boychuk, who has not played in a preseason game and missed a day of practice with an upper-body injury. Boychuk practiced on Thursday and dismissed any concerns.

“(It’d) be nice to get in a couple games, you don’t just want to go into the season when everyone else has been at the World Cup or had a few exhibition games,” he said. “You don’t want to put yourself behind at the beginning.”

So having Seidenberg may mean rookies Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield, who were in line to get the bulk of the work when a top-six defenseman went down, will have to be pushed a bit farther back on the depth chart.

“My whole philosophy — ECHL, AHL, NHL — is never rush a player,” Capuano said. “If you’re not ready there is no rush. It is a little bit tougher for goaltending and defense, there’s no question. Is this an indication? I don’t know. We still have a lot of exhibition hockey here so we’ll see how it goes.”

Notes & quotes: Cal Clutterbuck, who also sat out the first three preseason games and had been off the ice since Saturday, returned to practice on Thursday, skating with Casey Cizikas and Nikolay Kulemin, who had his first Isles practice of the season after playing for Russia in the World Cup.

New York Sports