With Adam Pelech going on LTIR earlier today, the Islanders have found his replacement, at least in the short term as the team announced that they’ve claimed defenseman Mike Reilly off waivers from Florida.
Last season was a rough one for Reilly as he spent most of the year with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence with no team willing to take him on at a $3MM AAV off the waiver wire. He became an unrestricted free agent this summer after the final year of that deal was bought out by the Bruins and he quickly found a landing spot in Florida, who inked him to a one-year, $1MM contract.
The 30-year-old had been on the roster for the Panthers all season long but despite the long-term injuries to Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour, Reilly suited up just twice. Relegated to the eighth blueliner, Florida waived him yesterday in an effort to get him to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte but that won’t be the case now. However, Reilly’s contract now comes off their books, giving Florida some extra salary cap space at their disposal.
The Isles didn’t have the cap space to pick Reilly up until this morning when Pelech landed on LTIR. Once Pelech is cleared to return, New York will have to create some cap room to activate him and will need to move someone else off the roster if they want to keep Reilly in the fold at that time.
Between that injury and the one to Sebastian Aho (both of which occurred yesterday against Ottawa), Reilly could find himself in a situation where playing time will come much more frequently, at least for the time being. A veteran of 341 games between five different teams, Reilly has 98 points and could add a bit of firepower to a back end that has just seven goals on the season, five of which have come from Noah Dobson. Reilly will once again be an unrestricted free agent next summer.