Gary Bettman says interest in buying Islanders is high

Although owner Charles Wang hasn’t yet decided whether he wants to sell the Islanders, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that interest in the club is high (Marcus, April 24).

While Bettman spoke of buyers having potential interest in the club, he said the move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn would improve their situation:

“The economics will change for the club. He’s got one of the most onerous leases in the worst building in the league. And that has a dramatic negative economic impact. So, by moving to Barclays, the team will be in a far different economic position.”

Bettman said that the 25-year lease the Islanders agreed to with the Barclays Center isn’t “an impediment,” and suggested that the chance to own the Islanders after their move to Brooklyn would be “a great opportunity” for any interested buyer.

Point/Counterpoint: Which Pick Should the Islanders Give to Buffalo?

After a bad 2013-14 season the Islanders hold the fifth pick in the draft this June. It will be the third time in the past five years that they are in the five slot and it’s the fifth year in the last six that they’ll be in the top five overall. But… Will they keep the pick? Thanks to the Thomas Vanek trade in October, they owe Buffalo either this year’s or next year’s first round pick. Today, we’ll debate the merits of each option.

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

I’ve honestly had a hard time with this, debating which pick the Islanders should turn over to the Sabres. There’s something to be said for knowing where you’re picking and it’s hard to leave it up to all the different things that could (in this case) go right over the next year. But I think that if I’m Garth Snow, I’m swallowing my pride and my medicine and sending number five to Buffalo this June. Get rid of it, get it over with. You know how Islander County is and the last thing we all need is to stew about this for a year.

The immediate reaction last week after the lottery seemed to be that the Islanders would be showing that they’re “giving up” on next season if they pass up on this year’s pick. It would indicate that they’re expecting to be worse next year than they are this year. I’ve got a couple qualms with that. 1) The Islanders need a goaltender in the worst way. They will not be an improved team next year with the current trio. The team was also healthy for the most part up until the Olympic break. Wouldn’t a big acquisition restore faith even if they gave up the pick? Are we naive enough to believe this team will actually be better this year? 2) It seems pretty clear that the top of next year’s draft is going to be BIG with the grand prize the possible next Crosby, Connor McDavid. My nightmare is the Islanders falling into the bottom third (or worse) of the league and their logo coming up in the lottery causing a franchise altering player such as McDavid to play upstate instead of in Brooklyn. Christian, am I crazy?

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Completely crazy!

By the time the lottery was on last Tuesday I had long believed that giving up next years pick was the right thing to do if you are the Islanders. Next years draft has sex appeal and some big name players, but YES if you defer this years pick you are saying to everyone in Isles country this team is not getting better and we’ll be in the top-5 again next year.

Garth SnowThis Islander team is not that far off from actually being a threat in the playoffs they just need to make some smart off-season moves to facilitate that. And keeping the number five pick this year will help that. Holding onto the pick gives the Isles options to either 1) keep the selection to use it on a player like Willie Nylander, Sam Bennett or Michael Dal Colle. 2) They use the the selection as part of a trade to bring in the NHL defenseman or goaltender the Islanders so desperately need. It’s not that farfetched to think they could pull off a deal like that during the draft or in the day or so leading up to it. Potentially passing up on “the next Sidney Crosby” is tough to think about now, but if the Islanders play their cards right and make moves during the offseason — Like i believe they will do this year — this will be a mute point they will be no where near position to pick McDavid. So I think Snow will make the right call and keep this years draft pick and send next year’s selection to Buffalo.

To read more of this story, click here

Isles to play at Barclays Center on September 26

The Islanders will play at the Barclays Center on September 26 ,2014. They will play the New Jersey Devils.

This is the second ever NHL game at the new arena, where the Islanders will call home beginning in the 2015-16 season.

Tickets will go on sale for the preseason game beginning Friday, April 25 at 10 a.m. Islanders season ticket holders will have exclusive presale access starting Tuesday, Apr. 22 at 10 a.m. Brooklyn Nets All Access season ticket holders and American Express Cardmembers will also have exclusive presale access, the Islanders said.

“We are extremely excited to play our second game at Barclays Center,” General Manager Garth Snow said in a release. “It was a special night, seeing all of our passionate fans pack the building last September and hearing the ‘Lets Go Islanders’ chant throughout the game. We are looking forward to making Brooklyn our home the following season. This is a great way for our fans to see how easy the commute is to this world class facility in Brooklyn, the friendly staff that awaits them as they walk through the entrance, and the numerous amenities that only Barclays Center offers.”

Chris Botta first reported on this in mid-March.

The Morning Skate: Sale News, ‘Punishing Losers,’ Buffalo Be Hatin’

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

As you may have heard the Islanders will potentially/possibly/probably be sold sometime in the next few weeks/months/years. Late on Friday and over the weekend, some more news of the Islanders potential/possible/probable sale came down. First, from Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal:
According to a financial industry source, Islanders owner Charles Wang has received interest in his team from at least two other potential buyers.

“The Islanders are a year away from moving to Brooklyn, and the lease there is good,” said the source. “Once Mr. Wang said publicly that he was listening to offers, it was inevitable that interest would pick up. The Islanders are now an attractive commodity.”

It seems like the initial leak of information has finally drummed up some more potential buyers in the team. Whether you’re a bit of a conspiracy theorist and believe it was a purposeful leak with the intention to drive the price (raises hand) or that it wasn’t purposeful, it certainly has sparked someone’s interest. Botta doesn’t have any names, but one guess is that it could be Howard Dolgon, who really, really wants to buy the Islanders, you guys.

Dolgon has been very public with his interest and as of Friday, said he had an investor lined up, since he doesn’t have the money to do it himself. Dolgon didn’t name his investor, but seemed confident that money wasn’t a problem. To read more of this story, click here

Snow: Isles Likely to Retain 2014 First Rounder

As part of the trade that sent Thomas Vanek to the Islanders in October, the Islanders owe the Buffalo Sabres a first round pick. Per a stipulation in the trade, the Islanders have the option of giving Buffalo either their 2014 first round pick or their 2015 first rounder.

Last night Garth Snow, Doug Weight and other Islanders were at Westbury Manor to meet with fans. According to Rob Del Muro, a producer for News 12 who was in attendance, Snow wouldn’t fully commit to retaining the 2014 pick but it seemed like it was a very likely scenario.

As for the other part of the Vanek deal, Matt Moulson, Del Muro tweeted that Snow said he wasn’t willing to pay Moulson’s price.

The Islanders will have the 5th overall pick this June, should they choose to hold onto it. They have until June 1 to notify the Sabres and the league as to which pick they are going to keep.

The Morning Skate: MacDonald Money

Andrew MacDonald got a boat load of cash from the Philadelphia Flyers the other day to the tune of six years and $30 million. That’s quite a bit higher than the supposed four-year, $16 million that Garth Snow offered earlier this year.

  1. Good for MacDonald, who worked his way up from the ECHL and has to hold some kind of record for being underpaid (in NHL terms). He worked for four years at around $500k per year, totalling $2.2M in all and drawing tons of “best value” praise around the NHL. He will now make as much money in 43 games next season as he did in the previous four seasons combined.
  2. Good for the Islanders, who got what has to be absolute max value. Dom at LHH has a good summary of the whole situation: …it looks like the Isles got the most out of this asset and sold at the right time. Brought up to the NHL to log minutes on a contract that was famously a bargain at four years with an average of $550,000, MacDonald was ready to cash in during a walk year where the Islanders used him a ton, including lots of points opportunities on the contract-juicing power play.
  3. nelson

  4. Haha! to the Flyers, who have now committed $10M+ to two former Islanders defenders over the next three seasons. As much as it would be nice to see the Islanders open the wallet like that, Streit and MacDonald are not quite the players that you would want to commit about 1/6th of your cap space too (especially the aging Streit).

To read more of this story, click here

The Morning Skate: Draft Lottery Tonight, Toronto’s Nightmare

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

The NHL Draft Lottery takes place tonight in a made for TV special at 8pm. It’ll be on TSN in Canada and NBCSN in the States. As you might know from years of experience, this thing is 30-minutes long and it’s usually about 29 minutes too long. So, if you show up at 8:15 you won’t miss a whole lot. 

The Islanders representation tomorrow night will be Trent Klatt, who is the team’s head amateur scout. The team also holds the fifth spot in the lottery, meaning that there is an 8.1% chance that they’ll win the lottery and move up to the #1 spot. If they don’t win they’ll have the fifth pick unless someone behind them in the draft order wins, in which case they’ll move back to the sixth spot.

Also, as a special feature this year the Devils will be in the lottery but are ineligible to win it because of the whole Ilya Kovalchuk ‘cap circumvention we’re taking your first round pick but ok here you can have it back‘ thing.

Here’s how that will workTo read more of this story, click here

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Tavares will begin skating next week

John Tavares has been cleared to begin skating again next week, he told reporters on Monday.

“I know my limitations,” he said (Savarino, April 14).

Tavares tore his medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee during the Olympics. He did not have surgery.