Sabres general manager Tim Murray is open to trading the 21st pick in this year’s draft (Cox, May 22)
The Sabres acquired the 21st selection from the Islanders in an October 2013 deal that sent Thomas Vanek to Long Island.
The traded pick was conditional, as Garth Snow had the option of either moving the Isles’ first rounder in the 2014 draft or the 2015 draft, with the decision due last spring. Snow opted to keep last year’s first rounder (fifth overall) and drafted Michael Dal Colle.
In 56 games this season with the Oshawa Generals, Dal Colle scored 42 goals and tallied 51 assists for 93 points.
It’s interesting to note, if only because this year’s 21st pick will always be linked to Dal Colle. And with MDC continuing to score at a breakneck pace in the Generals’ postseason run, and dreams of him playing on John Tavares’ wing dancing in our heads, it’s likely Islanders fans will be happy with how this all turns out.
It’s a win-win for the Sabres. Not only can they opt to keep two first rounders in a very deep draft class, but they can make themselves instantly better if they choose to deal the pick to acquire another core player (don’t forget they have Evander Kane waiting in the wings for next season as well). For the Islanders, whoever is taken at 21 will be filed into that alternate reality of what could have been. But as it stands right now, it looks like New York played this one to perfection.
Casey Cizikas: Center| 5’11″| 201 lbs| 24 years old
Regular Season Stats: 70 games played| 9 goals| 9 assists| 18 Points| minus-2
Playoff Stats: 7 games played| 1 goal| o assists| 1 point| plus-1
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
The Islanders fourth line was one of the toughest in the National Hockey League and Casey Cizikas was certainly one of the reasons why. Cizikas had a career year in goals (9) and points (18), but the physical, gritty style of hockey that he played with was also a big contribution. Along with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck, Cizikas was able to throw his body around to force turnovers and create offensive opportunities.
“It’s nice to score, but our job is to bring energy to the team and come up with a big shift when we need it,” Cizikas told the Washington Post about his role. “so if we can chip in on the scoreboard, that’s nice.”
The centerman won 52.2 percent of his face-offs during the regular season, according to Hockey Reference.com, and had a came away with the puck 47.3 percent of the time in the playoffs. Cizikas averaged 12:31 of ice time during the season and received an average of 13:42 in the postseason.
Cizikas wasn’t a goal scoring machine, but his chemistry with Martin and Clutterbuck made for a strong fourth unit. In fact, it was so strong that Islanders’ coach Jack Capuano even joked that it was hard to call the Martin, Cizikas and Clutterbuck unit a fourth line.
Cizikas struggled in 2013-14, finishing the year a minus-12, but he turned around and had a strong season for the Islanders this year. He was quite successful when he played his physical brand of hockey and the Islanders will benefit from him next season if he can produce another year like 2014-15.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman expects the salary cap for the 2015-16 season to settle in around $71 million, depending on the fluctuations of the Canadian dollar (AP, May 22)
The $71 million would reflect a five percent rise from this season’s $69 million cap.
The Islanders’ cap number last season was roughly $67 million. Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Thomas Hickey are eligible for new contracts. (NHLNumbers.com)
Eric Bolton, Tyler Kennedy, Matt Carkner, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Michal Neuvirth are all unrestricted free agents.
The Islanders’ main offseason targets will most likely be a winger to potentially play alongside John Tavares and a back up goaltender, not necessarily in that order. If you figure in roughly $3 million for Neuvirth or a comparable goalie, raises for Lee, Nelson, and Hickey (a potentially extension for Kyle Okposo would not count towards next year’s cap), and possible subtractions of Visnovsky and Michael Grabner, and you’re inching higher, but still have space. That leaves the Islanders in solid position to swipe in and grab a winger (Art Staple mentioned Joel Ward could be a target
) or once again take advantage of another cap-constricted club (Patrick Sharp anyone?).
With their top three defenders locked in for years to come, the Isles can breathe easy in the cap department, and the extra $2 million will only help. When the time comes, they have plenty of room to lock up JT long term and still add talent in the interim, and that’s the perfect position to be in.
UPDATE: Big thanks to MSG statistician Eric Hornick for pointing out some flubs I made on the numbers. The news item and my analysis has now been updated to reflect the changes. Thanks, Eric!
Barclays Center held a select-a-seat event this week in order to give new ticket plan holders a chance to pick out the seat and row they wanted and purchase it for the 2015-16 season.
We asked our followers on Twitter who attended and bought tickets to share the view from their seats.
Section 214, row 4 (from @BoredJason)
Top of section 222 (from @hextall72):
The first aspect of Barclays Center I noticed when I walked in for the first time three years ago was how steep the 200 sections are. Suffice it to say, you’re much further from the ice at the top of Barclays Center than you are at the Coliseum. That said, I’m actually pretty encouraged by some of the views from the upper bowl. The perspective is solid, frankly much better than I thought it would be. I’d still be interested to see some pictures from the defend corner to gauge just how obstructed the view actually is.
Got some views you want to share? Feel free to tweet them to me, and we’ll share them leading up to Opening Night.
Nassau County is considering filing a lawsuit against Nassau Coliseum operator SMG to collect nearly $6 million in unpaid rent, utilities, parking and concessions, as well as an additional $176,000 in back ticket taxes. (Newsday, May 19)
SMG owes the county money dating back to 2011, according to an audit conducted by comptroller George Maragos. He wants the county to file suit to collect the money.
“The county has every intention to collect the dollars owed and has been actively pursuing a resolution to make the county whole,” said County Attorney Carnell Foskey. (Newsday, May 19)
The Pennsylvania-based venue management company said they are working to settle the “unpaid bills,” but SMG insists they do not owe additional ticket tax revenue.
The report comes as the Town of Hempstead held a hearing on Monday regarding the master plan for the renovation of the Nassau Coliseum. The hearing lasted two hours and the town board unanimously agreed to vote on the plan at a future date. (Newsday, May 20)
The vote could happen at “next week’s meeting, it could be at the meeting in June, it could be at any future meeting,” said town spokeswoman Susie Pokalsky.
Forest City Ratner, the development firm that built the Barclays Center, plans to turn Nassau Coliseum into 13,000 seat modern facility along with an entertainment district and retail space. Rather plans on beginning construction in August.
The Barclays Center was set up for hockey on Tuesday…
Grantland has assembled their NHL Playoffs All-Bust team, a collection of players that didn’t live up to expectations in the second season.
The Islanders representative? Kyle Okposo.
“After putting up 51 points in just 60 games during the regular season, Okposo was limited to just three in the Islanders’ first-round loss to the Capitals,” writes Sean McIndoe. “He still had an impact, knocking Eric Fehr out of the series with a big hit, and he was still recovering from the eye injury that threatened his season, so it’s hard to really call him a bust. But our list needed an Islander, so Okposo’s our guy.”
Okposo had two goals and an assist, all of which came in the first three games of the series. He was held off the scoring sheet in the final four games.
If you watched this series start to finish, you know Okposo doesn’t deserve to be on this list. In fairness to McIndoe, he basically qualifies his selection of Kyle by saying as much. Okposo was quite effective in the Isles’ seven-game loss to the Caps. His best effort was probably his six shot performance in the Game Four overtime loss, but Braden Holtby just stood on his head to give Washington that pivotal victory.
I was really encouraged with what Okposo gave the Islanders in the playoffs. There was no guarantee he’d be the player he was when he had the retina surgery, and his play in the postseason has quelled those fears. Now that he has a full offseason to recover and a training camp to get re-conditioned, I’d expect another big year for Okposo in 2015-16.