After Day 1, Isles May Be Done (and Other Thoughts on Free Agency)

Kevin Schultz

Maybe this is out of context, but it sure sounds like the Islanders are all set for the summer. From a Newsday article yesterday about signing goaltender Chad Johnson:
Snow declined to comment on any players who chose not to sign. “I think the core of our team is set,” he said. “It’s up to our players to improve from last season. We have a few guys who need to have better seasons for us to have success.”

After six signings yesterday of varying importance — but no “big fish” — it seems as though Garth Snow is settled in free agency. A whopping 86 NHL players signed a new deal yesterday, so to some extent a vast chunk of the available players are gone. Two of the remaining that the Islanders could/should be interested in are Mikhail Grabovski and David Legwand, who could lend experience and are capable of 50ish points. They would definitely be useful players but how far down the depth chart they would be willing to play could be an issue, as you wouldn’t want them keeping Lee/Strome/Nelson too far down.

Right now though, signs point to the Islanders being done in free agency. Arthur Staple, in a radio interview last night, speculated that the Islanders may still be looking to improve the team via trade

The good news is that the Islanders finalized their goaltending situation; Jaroslav Halak previously and now both Chad Johnson and David Leggio as insurance policies. If it goes as you hope, that alone should improve the Islanders to the point of challenging for the playoffs. They finished 14 points out and if a solid, actual goalie — and not the 30th ranked tandem of last year — is in place it seems fair to say that could be a 7-10 point difference in the standings. With all those blown two-goal leads last year, an improved goaltender maybe bails the team out in a few of those games and there you go.

Then there are the usual Garth Snow Darkhorse Picks, who have either failed to catch on elsewhere or have not been given a proper chance with other teams. One is TJ Brennan, who has played only small parts of NHL seasons and put up gigantic numbers in the AHL last year. Hopefully that can transition to the NHL. The other is Cory Conacher, who looked like he had caught on in Tampa in 2012-13 with 24 points in 35 games, was traded to Ottawa and then put on waivers, claimed off waivers by Buffalo and then not given a qualifying offer.

After that, it’s depth for the Sound Tigers in Jack Skille and Harry Zolnierczyk. Yawn. A necessary thing since Bridgeport, despite the influx of prospects, has been losing players to the Islanders. And injures can arise, etc, etc.

So once again the Islanders strike out with the big free agents. Whether that’s because they have a GM that gets shit on in the media, the owner’s reputation, the fact that the team is bottom five in the league for the sixth time in seven seasons or [other reason], it’s blatantly clear that it’s very difficult for the team to improve through free agency.

There’s Jaroslav Halak this year, which is great, because most years it’s been Jay Pandolfo or Jon Sim types. But it’s patently obvious that free agency is not the Islanders strong suit. On the other side, after some awful long-term contracts of their own that get them a ton of grief, it’s also not the worst thing that the Islanders didn’t get the next seven years of Matt Niskanen.

The plan has been all along for prospects like Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson et al. to become impact players for this team and now we may just get to see that happen without Pierre-Marc Bouchard or whatever middling free agent that would usually come in impeding that. But until we see those players and others finally step in and take over, it’s hard as hell to picture this team being significantly different at the current moment than last year’s incarnation, save for the goaltending that I’ve griped about for way too long (Praise be to the goaltending!). We’ve seen John Tavares and Kyle Okposo take leaps and bounds over the years and become first-line talent. It seems that, barring a major adjustment, the Islanders will be depending on other home grown players to take their own leaps this season.




188 comments
ny711ot
ny711ot

Man just watched the 84 canada cup game vs the soviets....nobody and I mean nobody should ever wear 27 again in an Islander uniform.

So wrong that the original JT is still so distant.

nassau1
nassau1

SNOW  SAID ITS UP TO THE PLAYERS WE HAVE TO STEP UP: TRANSLATION: NO PLAYOFFS AGAIN.THE PLAYERS YOU SIGNED ARE ALL 3RD 4TH LINE SCRUBS WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE 2 GOALIES.  Theres only so much  juice you can squeeze out of the talent you have.   We needed a bonafide #1 left winger  and a bonafide top 2 Dman but again all we got was castoffs and scrubs.This is not going to work.When we dont make the playoffs again will snow get fired????Hell no.Theres no accountability here.I want to punch that POS in the face wang im so mad at what he has done but i know i cant do that.

Mark Kaiser
Mark Kaiser

I see all the trolls are out bitching as usual….

Mark Allan
Mark Allan

There you go, people. Grabovski and Kulemin are now Islanders -- for four years each no less.


While I applaud Charles Wang's sudden willingness to spend, what does the acquisition of Grabovski mean for Ryan Strome's development. Is Garth Snow saying, in effect, that Strome won't be ready to be the second-line centre in four years?


And, while Kulemin adds a veteran presence to the wings, I still don't see an obvious candidate for top-line left wing duties. Curious.


At least it should get us up to the cap floor.

bammer26
bammer26

I posted on another thread that this is the loudest I have ever heard the Coli, in person. Maybe the leaf's series in 2001 ranks a close second..


http://youtu.be/FBgcYNiRGvE

jepliberty
jepliberty

1 big physical wing for JTs line, and a veteran Dman with size and then it;s may be all good, that is what is need at this point, at the very least.

Ludovic Charze
Ludovic Charze

kulemin and grabovski

nice 3rd line players, what we need.. im not sarcastic, better than the mcdonalds.. now we r getting somewhere

dzruggie
dzruggie

Well it is up to the young talent we have to put it together and truth be told they will all need to step up.  It is frustrating as a fan, especially in NY where the term small market is an antonym and to have to feel like Kansas City (no disrespect) sucks  Call it the owner, the GM, the coach or the culture and the only way out is the guys currently on the team step up.  Barring some significant trade and perhaps other than rookie week, not much left to talk about here.  Not that there would be even the slightest hope the unrelenting tsunami of negative thoughts and comments subsiding to allow for interesting talk, but it is what it is.  Let's hope the young guys are on fire and hit it hard come training camp.  Enjoy the summer.....

camb33
camb33

wang, snow and co. don't care. They don't care about winning, what you see is what you get. especially this year, the last year at the coliseum. They know people are gonna come to the games regardless of the garbage they put on the ice, so those people can say they were there for the final season. I for one will be there, probably going to more games then usual because it will be that much harder to get to Brooklyn.  they should be ashamed of themselves...

Thomas Delgrosso
Thomas Delgrosso

The best thing that could ever happen to this team is their cheap ass owner Charles Wang sell the team & then fire Garth Snow

Mario Gazzaneo
Mario Gazzaneo

cant you guys see that he isnt allowed to spend more money. he will re sign players to get to the cap floor and thats it. Again we think high and get low. same BS different year. And if you think Barclays Center is going to be any different you're only fooling yourself. Boy Buffalo is going to love that first rounder next year. I hope I am wrong.

fan42long
fan42long

Note to Garth: You have a ton of cap space. Other teams do not and are looking to shed salary. Now I know every one of our prospects is the next Wayne Gretzky, but maybe, just maybe you can swing a deal that includes 1 to land a top 4 Dman, or a LW. You see, if you make a trade for a player that doesn't have a NTC, then they have to come here. UFA's aren't interested, Garth. Sooooo.... be a nice GM and go get a deal done. C'mon. You can do it. Check out how other GM's do it and copy. Go ahead. Go. Get to that cap floor, bud.

rage
rage

I know you don,t Believe  it  things will get better once the move to Brooklyn .They have to have a winning team otherwise they are not filling the building.I realize we want to win this year and we could surprise some people even though I find it hard to myself being a longtime fan.But we did fix our Goal tending which was a huge upgrade guys.It really pisses me off that the Isles didn't get someone to help JT on wing and a good Dman to help the kids.I really Believe Garth will be gone next year and changes are coming once to Barclay's Guys.Hang In there don,t jump ship just yet.

jepliberty
jepliberty

After this news, and no improvement in the team, if JT doesn't ask out in 2 years, he should be considered an ????

Macacawitz
Macacawitz

@ny711ot I'm friends with an old NHL D-Man named Jim Kyte....you might remember him, he played mostly for Winnipeg and was the first deaf player to play in the NHL.  He once told me that Tonelli was the toughest guy he ever played against.  He said in one game he broke 3 sticks slashing him and couldn't hurt him.  He was completely unstoppable.  It's been a while since we've had one like him. 

jepliberty
jepliberty

@bammer26 

Another thing they need to go back to the siren after a goal, and ditch that chicken shyte whoo whoo whoo after a goal, that's bush league idiocy, but perhaps it is appropriate for this debacle of a team.

jepliberty
jepliberty

@bammer26 

bammer I remember that game, and it was bammer who threw it back in the zone.

jepliberty
jepliberty

@dzruggie 

It would be nice to enjoy the summer but with the uncertainty with this team that may prove improbable.

bammer26
bammer26

@camb33 - Well said Camb, but shame doe not exist with these two. Snowman has just been a faithful soldier to Wang in this charade. If not being plucked out of the showers, where else would he be? What other franchise would give him a shot with his resume over the last 8 years,,,

REDSpointofview
REDSpointofview

@fan42long

If my math is correct,,, or even close to correct, Snow needs to spend only about $4 million to reach the $51 million floor.  He has four RFA's on tap with Cizikas, Lee, de Haan and Donovan.  I think he gets there just on those four signings.  The question I have is about Viznovsky.  If he stays on IR, I believe insurance pays his salary and that is $4.25 million which still counts against the cap.  I believe that is the reason Barrie was signed, because Viznovsky is not going to be ready to play and Snow needed his own type of insurance to get a point defenseman for the power play.  By now we should all be well aware, it's hockey on the cheap and Snow is probably done until training camp...

fan42long
fan42long

Why do you think Garth will be gone? Wang stays - Garth stays. Wang goes - Garth goes. Simple as that.

ny711ot
ny711ot

Greatest fear is that for that reason Garth goes whole hog to save his ass and does extend offer sheets...and then we lose two draft years...by then JT willwalk and we won't have any hope.

bammer26
bammer26

@jepliberty- The ORIGINAL goal siren was the goods. On that goal, Duane Sutter was instrumental, making a great pass to TJ in the high slot. How about the small portable air horns that were allowed in the Coli back in the days..

fan42long
fan42long

@Ludovic Charze Got to mean a trade for D is coming. Too many Fwds on the roster. Grabner is my guess to be heading out.

Don22
Don22

@mitchfritz @dzruggie I don't think we need to ask them to all be 30 goal scorers.  I think that having Halak/Johnson in goal will yield less goals for sure.  I don't think it's a lot to ask of guys like Bailey, Martin, CZ and Grabs to improve by 3-4 goals each.  Even Bailey is capable of that.  Same goes for the young guys Strome, Lee, Nelson - even deHaan.  I think they can improve.


Still think this will be a better team than last season.  Maybe not getting into the playoffs as currently constituted, but better none the less.  Certainly a lot of IFS.

fan42long
fan42long

@REDSpointofview @fan42long I was just using sarcasm. Garth wants us to believe that the only way to improve the roster is via signing UFA's. He can still upgrade this team. Will he? Not holding my breath.

Don22
Don22

@ny711ot I don't think he really has the available draft picks to make any bigger RFA offers.  And for all of his issues, it's obvious Garth at least values the draft to the extent that he won't give up more #1 picks considering we are without next year.  

jepliberty
jepliberty

@orange2327 

He must have the patience of a Mother Teresa, or else he is naïve, or gullible.

jepliberty
jepliberty

@chrisredux @jepliberty 

Chris it's totally unbelievable that he would want to stay in this losing environment, and I don't give a crap about what the wang/snow buttkissers want to say about it.

jepliberty
jepliberty

@bammer26 @jepliberty 

Do you remember the horns used in the 2010 world cup they were called vuvuzelas,  after a while it would get on my nerves. lol

REDSpointofview
REDSpointofview

@jepliberty @REDSpointofview @fan42long

His owner cares about one thing,,, the money.  Having lost his grandiose plans on the Lighthouse he now uses this team as a tax write off.  Once that concept sinks in,,, that Wang cares nothing about the product on the ice, only the revenue streams, the picture becomes way too clear.  Nothing is really going to change without new ownership.  The team will get better, just based on all the high draft picks but, I do not see a cup run until the owner starts to spend on better talent...

REDSpointofview
REDSpointofview

@fan42long @REDSpointofview

Last year Snow actually made the statement about this same time of year that his rebuild was going almost entirely through the draft.  It would appear nothing has changed.  Another year older and are they any closer to completing that rebuild???

chrisredux
chrisredux

@jepliberty @chrisredux Honestly I'm really NOT looking forward to this season as of yet..This p r i c  k better do something...This is insanity 

bammer26
bammer26

@chrisredux - How would you like to be a season tix fan this year who just plunked down a few G's, or more in one of the lavish Coliseum suites? Not to happy so far on the ice product. At least, one can look at this years's investment as the huraaa and so long for the NCMC...


At least that's the mental route I'm taking on about a dozen games or more..

jepliberty
jepliberty

@bammer26 @chrisredux 

Maybe snow ill get fired and he can get a job at the coli next season, and at the barc the following season as a janitor sweeping up peanut shells on the floor.