Veterans Staios and Rolston guide young Islanders
To help guide their foundation of youthful talent, the New York Islanders brought in veteran leadership this past off-season.
While Islander’s management is excited about the team’s young core, which features up-and-comers such as John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner, General Manager Garth Snow balanced that youth with experience. Snow acquired two veterans, former Calgary Flames defenseman Steve Staios and New Jersey Devils forward Brian Rolston, and both players were named assistant captains on the team.
Staios was invited to training camp and was signed as a free agent on Sept. 30.
“I’m just going to try and lend some of my experience and my leadership to the team and do what I can in that regard,” he said.
The 38-year-old defenseman said he’s not the only one in the dressing room deserving of the “A” on the jersey.
“We have some guys in here that have won, so I think we should lend that to the young guys so they know what it takes day in and day out,” Staios said.
Pandolfo, a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, said having Rolston in the locker room helps the team’s chemistry.
“Rolston makes it easy and makes you feel a little bit more comfortable,” said Pandolfo. “I think Rolston goes along with a good mix of other players.”
Rolston was traded to the Islanders on Aug. 26 in an exchange that sent eight-year Isles right-winger Trent Hunter to New Jersey. Rolston said the Islanders have all the tools to become a successful team.
“We have a lot of good young players in here who are carrying the torch, and I just have to help in a lot of aspects,” he said.
Though both players are not known as goal scorers, the Isles hope these veterans will use their substantial experience to steer the team in the right direction.