Qualifying Offers Due Today

Kevin Schultz

Update, 11 AM: Arthur Staple tweets that the Islanders have qualified Cizikas, de Haan, Donovan, Lee, Poulin, Nilsson, Gallant and Ness. Diamond, Cantin and Magene have not been qualified and will become UFAs.

Original post: Qualifying offers are due to restricted free agents today, or else teams face the prospect of those players being available to other teams as free agents at noon tomorrow. If a player does receive a qualifying offer, they have the option of signing it, holding out for something better, or heading to Europe.  The team still retains their rights to the player if they don’t sign the QO, so if they come back from Europe later on — think Jesse Joensuu — the team would still retain their rights. There’s a great explanation on the details here.

The Islanders have 11 RFAs:

Casey Cizikas

Anders Lee (Arthur Staple noted earlier this week the two sides are close)

Calvin de Haan

Matt Donovan

Anders Nilsson

Kevin Poulin

Matt Mangene

Aaron Ness

Marc Cantin

Joey Diamond

Brett Gallant

The top four (Cizikas, Lee, de Haan and Donovan) are no-brainers to be qualified. Anders Nilsson is headed to the KHL, but I would imagine the Islanders would qualify him anyway to retain his rights (as they’ve done with Rhett Rakshani and Mark Katic in the past) and probably Kevin Poulin too as an emergency option if they can’t find a goalie in free agency. The rest of the list are Sound Tigers with minimal NHL prospects at this point, so that really depends on the organization depth as a whole. Aaron Ness and Marc Cantin could be gone given the influx of defenseman that should fill up Bridgeport this fall.

Snow on Ho-Sang: “He’ll Fit Right in, They **** on Me Too”

Kevin Schultz

If you’re not familiar with the Islanders newest draft pick, Joshua Ho-Sang, who they traded up to the 28th pick to get, let’s fill you in right now. Ho-Sang is an interesting player from the Kirill Kabanov school of ‘the hockey establishment thinks he has an attitude problem’. Basically, a lot of teams removed him from their draft boards for reasons not related to his on-ice talent.

On TSN after the pick, James Duthie asked Garth Snow about the attitude questions that have been asked about Ho-Sang by the Canadian media. And the glorious response:

And here’s more, which was said to print reporters:

“We didn’t want to wake up tomorrow and have any regrets, so we went for it…. We get the players that we feel can help us win a championship. I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks… Except our fans of course.”

“We think they both have good character. These are 17-year old kids… Thank goodness when I was that age they didn’t have social media, cell phone pictures, videos. I wouldn’t be the altar boy I am today…”

To get the long story, on Ho-Sang take a look at Steve Simmons’ piece from earlier this week, it’s well worth the read (first and possibly only time I’ll ever say that about Simmons). Here’s a snippet:  To read more of this story, click here

NHL Draft Live Blog

7:00pm: Roll has been called, with Philadelphia fans showing their usual hospitality, and draft will begin momentarily

6:19pm: The draft floor at Wells Fargo Center. Media given “10 minute warning” to clear the draft floor.

Draft Floor

6:17pm: After all that, the Panthers are likely to hold onto their top pick.

5:30pm How the new cap affects the Isles:

5:00pm

The upper limit of the salary cap will be $69 million this season. (Cap Geek, Elliotte FriedmanDarren DregerAaron Ward)

“Growth factor was at $68M,new TV money brought in a year early would raise it to $70M so both parties split the difference at $69M. ” (Ward)

The salary floor will be $51 million.

4:20pm  Darren Dreger reports that after three trade today, the Canucks may now be looking to trade up to the #1 pick.

4:17pm Here’s your Leafs rumor du jour! It’s not big hockey day if there isn’t a wild Leafs rumor.

And the Coyotes have officially decided to buyout Mike Ribiero. GM Don Maloney cites from behavorial issues for Ribiero, which not what I expected to hear.

4:15pm Another trade from the Canucks. They’ve dealt their third rounder in this draft for the Rangers’ Derek Dorsett. He had 128 PIM, 8 points in 51 games for the Rangers this season.

3:30pm The Canucks have traded Jason Garrison to Tampa Bay for the 50th pick (2nd round) and a 7th round pick in 2015 To read more of this story, click here

Draft Preview: William Nylander

The Islanders will select fifth at the NHL Draft on Friday night, if they don’t trade the pick. Here are the players you’ll need to know who are likely to be at the top of the draft board. 

William Nylander – Left Wing, MoDo (Sweden)

5-11, 169

nylander

Our final draft pick preview is the first one that takes us off the North American continent, over to Sweden where William Nylander plays. Nylander is the highest rated European prospect in the draft (if we exclude the German Draisaitl who has been playing in the WHL). But of course it’s always complicated, as Nylander was born in Calgary but raised in Sweden. He’s the son of Michael Nylander, who spent almost two decades in the NHL playing for Washington, Chicago, Calgary and others.

Nylander only spent part of last season with MoDo in Sweden’s top league, having been moved up from a team in the second division. His stats with MoDo look meek at first glance — one goal and seven points in 22 games — but it’s actually quite impressive as he’s playing in a professional men’s league as a 17-year old. He also had success in the second tier for 15 goals and 27 points in 35 games, again, against players older than him.

Oh and here’s a fun fact, Nylander’s full name is William Andrew Michael Junior Nylander Altelius.

To read more of this story, click here

Draft Preview: Nick Ritchie

The Islanders will select fifth at the NHL Draft on Friday night, if they don’t trade the pick. Here are the players you’ll need to know who are likely to be at the top of the draft board. 

Nick Ritchie – Left Wing, Peterborough (OHL)

6-2, 218

crop_833928_27_1392570396

Another winger at the top of the draft is Nick Ritchie, who has already filled out at around 218lbs. He’s a big bull of a power forward, fights, and has puck handling skills to boot. He’s another forward at the top of this draft who projects to being a top-six forward.

He does come with some mild injury baggage; missing two months of the 2012-13 season with a shoulder injury.

While Peterborough hasn’t been particularly good lately — made the playoffs in only one of Ritchie’s three seasons on the team — he’s been excellent putting up a shade under a point per game his first two years and then caught fire this year with 74 points and 39 goals in 64 games.

To read more of this story, click here

Draft Preview: Michael Dal Colle

The Islanders will select fifth at the NHL Draft on Friday night, if they don’t trade the pick. Here are the players you’ll need to know who are likely to be at the top of the draft board. 

Michael Dal Colle – Left Wing, Oshawa (OHL)

6-2, 179

dal colle

Up next is the first true winger in our rankings, Michael Dal Colle who projects to be a big-bodied power forward who can play top-six in the NHL. Obviously, he needs to bulk up from a shade under-180lbs but he’s got he height and skills to become that kind of a player.

Dal Colle projects in the 3-6 range of the draft, probably behind the trio of centers, and could very well be available when the Islanders are up at the podium with the fifth overall pick.

This past season for Oshawa, he had 95 points and 39 goals in 65 games, which ties him for second in goals in the OHL among the 2014 draft class (with Nick Ritchie and behind Robert Fabbri). Dal Colle nearly doubled his point total from last year, when he posted 48 in 63.

To read more of this story, click here

Draft Preview: Leon Draisaitl

The Islanders will select fifth at the NHL Draft on Friday night, if they don’t trade the pick. Here are the players you’ll need to know who are likely to be at the top of the draft board. 

Leon Draisaitl – Center, Prince Albert (WHL)

6-2, 208

Leon Draisaitl

Leon Draisaitl is our third profile on a trio of center that should go at the top of the draft, along with Sams Bennett and Reinhart.

Draisaitl could make some history in this draft, as he could become the highest selected German draft pick ever. Marcel Goc holds the current mark, taken 20th overall in 2001 and Draisaitl should be a sure fire top-five selection this year. (Also: Dany Healthy was born in Germany but partially raised in Canada, so we’re leaving him out on technicality)

This year in Prince Albert Draisaitl matched Reinhart with 105 points in the WHL. For what it’s worth, he did it in four extra games, 64. It was his second year in the WHL and has 162 points in 128 games between the two seasons. He additionally played a third season in the DNL, a German developmental league, prior to coming to North America and playing in the WHL. His adjustment to the North American game has been swift and impressive, nearly doubling his point and goal totals in his second WHL season.

To read more of this story, click here

Report: Islanders Calling Niskanen, Richards

Kevin Schultz

Earlier today, Craig Custance and Pierre LeBrun reported that the Islanders had been one of the most aggressive teams in free agency discussions thus far, which were allowed to start at 12:01 Wednesday morning (teams are unable to actually sign players until July 1). They also mentioned that one agent had said Garth Snow called right at 12:01am, as soon as he was able to. 

No names were named, but later in the afternoon Arthur Staple took care of that by naming Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen and the Rangers’ Brad Richards being among the players the Islanders were talking to.

Niskanen is a 27-year old defender who put up 46 points in 81 games last year on the Penguins’ blueline. He was third on among Penguins defenders in average time on ice, at nearly 22 minutes per game and had one of the best corsi ratings on the team at 53.3%. The market for defenders is paper thin, and Niskanen is a solid second pair player, so the Islanders will likely have to overpay to get him. Is it worth it? After last season’s defensive debacle, and a swing and miss at Dan Boyle, you bite the bullet if you have to.

As for Richards, he’s 34 and coming off a mega contract with the Rangers that he never really lived up to (but is still good for half a point per game, so it’s not like he’s useless). He’s an interesting target because he could certainly favor staying in the New York area after three years in Manhattan, and provides extra depth in the forward corps. He’s not the game breaker he was in his prime but he’s a heck of a lot better than the veterans the Islanders have brought in for recent seasons.

All that said it’s hard to get too far ahead of ourselves. These are interesting names and it’s good to see firm action being taken but all we know is that the Islanders have made some calls, which is what they should be doing. The real question is what are these players and their agents saying about these sales pitches on the other end?

Draft Preview: Sam Bennett

The Islanders will select fifth at the NHL Draft on Friday night, if they don’t trade the pick. Here are the players you’ll need to know who are likely to be at the top of the draft board. 

Sam Bennett – Center, Kingston (OHL)

6-1, 178

Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Sam Bennett, like Sam Reinhart, is a center and a top prospect in this years draft and for a few teams at the top the decision will come down to which Sam they want to draft.

Bennett is NHL Central Scouting’s top ranked prospect for this season, which is a big honor. With other top centers in Reinhart, Leon Draisaitl and a top defender in Ekbland, there’s no definitive order at the top of the draft and Bennett could certainly end up in the top two or fall lower down.

This year in Kingston he had as many goals as Reinhart (36) in three fewer games but lagged Reinhart and Draisaitl in total points (again, fewer games). Bennett is also the only one playing in the OHL and also showed amazing improvement this season, as he netted only 40 points in 60 games last year compared to 91 in 57 this year.

To read more of this story, click here

Draft Preview: Sam Reinhart

The Islanders will select fifth at the NHL Draft on Friday night, if they don’t trade the pick. Here are the players you’ll need to know who are likely to be at the top of the draft board. 

Sam Reinhart – Center, Kootenay (WHL)

6-1, 186

reinhart

The Islanders have a really good Reinhart brother, Griffin who was taken 4th overall in 2012, but the best one may be yet to come.

There are three Reinhart brothers — all sons of former Calgary Flames defender Paul Reinhart — and Sam is the youngest and looks as if he’ll be drafted this highest. He’s projecting to go top-three, depending on if teams would rather have a top-tier, two-way forward like Reinhart or a defender such as Ekblad.

Reinhart had a stellar year for Kootenay this winter, with 36 goals and 105 points in 60 games. In four seasons in Kootenay, he had 101 goals and 254 points in 203 career WHL games.

To read more of this story, click here