Amidst all of the hullabaloo surrounding guys like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Alex Semin, not to mention the less flashy signings the Islanders themselves made on July 1, came a depth signing with a bit of a colorful background.
Jon Landry, a 29-year-old defenseman hailing from Montréal, signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Islanders after playing for AHL affiliate Bridgeport for half of 2011-12. This is the first NHL contract of his career, which started at Bowdoin College in 2002-03 playing mainly forward. After graduating, he played two games for the Portland Pirates of the AHL and two games for the Augusta Lynx in the ECHL, and then jumped all the way across the country to play for the Arizona Sundogs back in the A. He stayed there for four seasons.
If Landry’s stats there and elsewhere in his career are any indication, he was a pretty productive offensive defenseman, at one point posting a +22 in 2007-08 and back-to-back 42-point seasons with the Sundogs. But for one reason or another, he left Arizona for — wait for it — Germany and the DEL, where he played nine games with the Cologne Sharks (two assists, -3).
From there, it was Great Britain’s Elite Ice Hockey League. He had a career-high 58-point season (18 G, 40 A) in 54 games played for Braehead Clan — and all of this while he was working on his MBA, which is impressive. My friend Paul Wheeler of Treading Frozen Water gave me a small scouting report:
Landry is a good skater-quick & smooth. Good vision and a decent shot. Won’t be a first choice NHLer but will be good depth.
… [played] top pair, 1st PP & PK in UK. AHL/NHL tweener on the Island. Good offensively so could find a NHL role with right partner. Could be a PP specialist given a bit of work with Isles/Sound Tiger coaches.
Sure, the fact that he had a career year in a British league (which some could argue is decidedly weaker hockey) is little indication of how he’ll play should he get called up to the Island. But he has already played part of a season with Bridgeport (and played on the top pairing with Ty Wishart there according to hockeyjournal.com), and he seems to be doing well.
The backstory is the real draw here, and it makes for some good inspiration: a guy who was apparently never drafted sticks to his guns and plays everywhere he can, all for a shot at the “highest level possible.” That takes some dedication, and dedication shouldn’t be overlooked. Best of luck to Landry in 2012-13.