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Islanders Officially Activate Robert Bortuzzo Off Long-Term Injured Reserved



AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Robert Bortuzzo received a nice little gift for his 35th birthday when the New York Islanders officially activated the defenseman off long-term injured reserve Monday afternoon.

Bortuzzo has missed more than two months of action due to a lower-body injury he suffered against the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 2.

After enduring a setback in his rehab process, Bortuzzo finally rejoined the Islanders at practice late last week, signaling that his return was imminent.

Bortuzzo joined the Islanders via a trade with the St. Louis Blues back on Dec. 8 in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. He played in just 11 games for the team before getting hurt.

Now that Bortuzzo is available to play once again, he provides the Islanders with the defensive depth they’ve lacked since placing Scott Mayfield on LTIR earlier this month.

The Islanders have used Mike Reilly and Sebastian Aho as their third defensive pairing in recent weeks. The duo has performed decently but has a glaring weakness, lacking size, strength and overall physicality.

Those are traits that Bortuzzo has built his career on. As a right-handed shot, Bortuzzo, in theory, could take Aho’s place in the lineup.

The Islanders have failed to sufficiently clear traffic in front of their own net this season, especially in recent games. After losing to the New York Rangers on Sunday, the Islanders have lost four games in a row.

With 72 points, the Islanders are a point back of the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference with only 15 games left in the season. The next seven games on the Islanders’ schedule all come against teams that are either in or are in the hunt for a playoff spot.

The Islanders (29-23-15) will host the Carolina Hurricanes (42-20-6) tomorrow at UBS Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.




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