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New York Islanders

Robert Bortuzzo Feeling Refreshed For Opportunity With Islanders



Photo courtesy The New York Islanders/Dennis DaSilva

East Meadow, NY– Robert Bortuzzo had a new look Saturday morning at Northwell Health Ice Center.

Gone was the beard he’s sported for the last handful of years. In its place was a refreshed face that matched his attitude as he joined the New York Islanders for the first time following a trade from the St. Louis Blues.

“I’m excited to come to a group who has had a lot of success over the years and is in a win-now mode,” Bortuzzo said. “You hear nothing but good things about this locker room and the guys. I’m truly thrilled to be here.”

Bortuzzo arrives on Long Island after spending a decade under the Gateway Arch. He won a Stanley Cup in St. Louis in 2019, but with the Blues enduring the natural cycle of a rebuild, the veteran saw his role decrease while he felt he had more to give.

“We wanted to try and make it work in St. Louis,” Bortuzzo said. “It didn’t. They’re going in another direction. I think it ran its course there. But for [Blues GM Doug Armstrong] to be willing to work with me to try and find me a place, I can’t say enough about that. It takes a ton of class, in my opinion, and I’m very thankful.”

With Bortuzzo’s desire for more minutes, the Islanders had an equal one for defensive help. After making Ryan Pulock the latest addition to the injured reserve list, a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft was a small price for the Islanders to pay in exchange for Bortuzzo.

“That’s one of the reasons why we made the move,” Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said. “From all indications, there isn’t one bad thing said about this particular person. My communication with him has been fantastic. I look forward to seeing him in the lineup and his leadership.”

The freshly shaven Bortuzzo will skate next to the baby face Samuel Bolduc tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. The Islanders have guided the rookie defenseman along in recent weeks while they’ve battled injuries. Only now, Bolduc is the one that’ll have to carry the pair.

“We’re gonna make things work,” Bolduc said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for him. Of course, there’s going to be a couple of things that are new for him, but we’ve got to keep playing the same way.”

What should help Bortuzzo adjust is that the Blues play a similar brand of hockey to the Islanders. The process may take a while, but in the meantime, he’s happy to have the chance to play again.

“I played in a place that had the same M.O.,” Bortuzo said. “They’ve paralleled each other for a long time with some success. You can just tell there’s a fire and compete among the group and that’s great to see.”




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