Islanders Sign G Chad Johnson

Kevin Schultz

According to multiple reports, the Islanders have signed goaltender Chad Johnson. It is a two-year deal valued at $2.26 million (Dreger).

Johnson, 28, was originally a fifth round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006. In 37 career NHL games spread over four seasons he has a .926 save percentage and 2.07 GAA. Johnson spent last season backup up Tukka Rask in Boston and posted a .925 save percentage and two shutouts in 27 games, by far the most he had played in an NHL season thus far.

This means that Kevin Poulin will not be an Islanders backup to start the season (barring extenuating circumstances). If Poulin does re-sign with the Islanders

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Ask and you shall receive.

The Islanders had a pressing need for a backup goaltender and Garth Snow delivered by signing Chad Johnson. Snow has been aggressive on the goaltending front this offseason signing Jaroslav Halak and now picking up Johnson. This will be a major upgrade to the Islanders goaltending tandem and Johnson is a quality backup, who played very well in Boston.

This signing does however indicate the end of Evgeni Nabokov’s tenure with the Islanders and that is for the better. With Johnson in the fold the Islanders now have a solid one-two punch in net that will — in theory — make them a better team going into next.

Johnson was on many people’s wish list of possible backup goaltenders, so Islander fans should be happy to have him on Long Island.


Report: Isles Looking Into Del Zotto, 10 Teams After Niskanen

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Islanders are looking at the possibility of signing/acquiring Michael Del Zotto from the Nashville Predators. Nashville GM David Poile said yesterday that Del Zotto is “not a fit” with the Predators. If he is not qualified by the Predators, Del Zotto would become a UFA tomorrow at noon.

Del Zotto is a former first round pick of the Rangers from 2008 and fell out of favor in Manhattan, as he was traded to Nashville in January. He had 16 points and was -9 in 67 total games last year.

One of the biggest defensive names on the market will be Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen, who hits free agency tomorrow. It was reported earlier that the Islanders were looking into the possibility of bringing in Niskanen. Today, Darren Dreger tweets that 10 teams have expressed interest in Niskanen, which make the competition fierce for the defender’s services. It is believed he is looking for a contract in the neighborhood of seven years and $40 million.


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:


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


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