Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:I think the Isles have to look for a goaltender in the off-season. Hiller would be a solid pick up. He’s having a good year out in Anaheim and could help this team immensely. Halak and Elliott would be good as well. Just a matter of getting them to come here. Always been a tough job for Snow to get players to sign on. May be easier to get a goaltender via the trade route if a deal can be made.
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:They need a goaltender in the worst way. Nabokov has been better than Poulin/Nilsson since returning from injury, and that’s not saying much. You can look at the full free agent list here and there are a lot of names in a lot of different price ranges. The ones that look the best to me are Miller, Hiller and Halak. Dubnyk, Gustavsson, Giguere and Scrivens are some other interesting, cheaper names. They’ve already traded a couple picks, so I’d rather wait till the off-season and sign one of these guys unless they can get someone under contract for a good amount of time. No reason trading for any UFA goalies unless it’s later on in the instance of a late pick for negotiation rights.
Mike G: More of a topic. Can you talk about how the losing will affect JT’s future with the team and the setback that it will be if he decides to leave. It would be hard to root for this team if they let him go. I would not forgive management.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:I think Tavares is extremely frustrated with how this season has gone, and so is everyone else in the room. Do I think this one bad season will make him want to leave Long Island? No. Five more bad seasons? Then you can be concerned. But right now I think if anything this just makes him even hungrier to get this team back on the right track.
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:I’d agree that while this year is very bad, this year alone wouldn’t make him push the panic button. He’s a calm, committed player and we saw that even going as far back as three weeks prior to the Islanders ever drafting him. He’s unbelievably driven and seems to be the type of player who puts a lot of the responsibility on himself before anyone else. Once we get closer to July 2018, then yes, this is a conversation to have. I don’t see him requesting a trade or anything of that sort. Just not that kind of person.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:Cause you’re crazy haha. No, cause like many other fans, you love this team and hold out hope that they will turn things around. That they will get back to the top of the NHL where they once were. Fandom is like being in love you could say. Sometimes it seems crazy and irrational, but you just can’t break the spell.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:I don’t know how much better the team would do with Doug Weight in charge than Capuano: Sure maybe he would be a more fiery coach, but he has run an NHL bench just once or twice in his life. Plus it seems like management wants to build up his coaching experience before they hand him the head-coaching job. If they make a coaching change, I would not wait until the summer to find a “real coach.”
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:NC, I’m not Capuano’s biggest fan. I understand that he’s been given the lineup he’s been given and the players do have to play the game. Of course, this season’s failures are not all land on one person. That said, there are a lot of lineup decisions that don’t make sense to me. The special teams are dismal this year. And, worst of all, this team has looked unmotivated too many times. After three years, shouldn’t they be motivated either by themselves of via the coaching staff?
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:I’ll answer you questions in order:
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:I think with Nino, he didn’t have great value around the league. Teams knew the Islanders were trading from a position of weakness since he publicly asked for a trade and any time a first round pick is being traded, if you’re an opposing GM, you have to ask yourself ‘why?’ Sort of like the Rangers trying to unload Del Zotto. There’s something there the team that sees him every day doesn’t like. For me, and I said this at the time, the Clutterbuck trade wasn’t too bad. The problem was everything leading up to it (fourth line, no camp invite, pouting).
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:I’ve seen much of the criticism of Ness and I just don’t think he’s as bad as some people want to believe. Has he made mistakes? Sure, he’s still a rookie, but I also think Donovan should not have been sent down either. They both have earned shots to play in the NHL. And I think de Haan would be a good power play QB if given the chance, so I agree there that he should be given time on the first power play unit.
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:Someone else should be given a chance. MacDonald play so many minutes as it is, he could use the break. De Haan ran the power play in Bridgeport this season, so it’s not like he’s completely unaccustomed to it. Donovan did get some power play time early in the year and I guess they didn’t like it. I’d like to De Haan get that shot.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:During camp I still thought he could have used more time in juniors, but now with 20/20 vision it wouldn’t have hurt to give him some playing time when he was here. I’ve had private conversations with other people about Reinhart, but I don’t know how much of a difference it would have made from a team standpoint.
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:This one I can give them a pass. You don’t count on Strait or Visnovsky getting injured. In a perfect world, you do want Reinhart back in juniors. Really crappy luck, I think. Also, you can’t pin the defensive disaster of this season on not keeping around an 18-year old. He might have helped but this year he likely wouldn’t have been a savior.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:Nothing new that I have heard.
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:No news is bad news at this point.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:I honestly still believe they could make the playoffs IF they can pull themselves together. They have to do a lot of winning, which yes I’m sure you laughed, can be done. We’ve seen the Islanders play well against some very good teams, but they have to figure out how to close games and not get so jumpy when their opponent starts to push back.
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:It’s really amazing. The Oilers have one less point than the Islanders but their season is already over and the Isles, technically, is not. As of this morning, the Islanders are 9 points out. The Oilers are 17 points out. 17 is near impossible, 9 is unlikely but possible. If they can somehow get on a similar run they had like the end of last year they could sneak in.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:No I don’t see Snow getting fired. Considering what Snow has done with the financial constraints he has I’d like to see what he could do with a real budget. If anything, it is Jack Capuano that gets let go by the organization if they do decide to make a change.
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:I’d agree with Christian. Capuano seems likely, maybe at the end of the year. Other than that, nope. Nothing. Hopefully they can get a free agent defender and/or goalie and/or convince Vanek to stay.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:Well considering the season the Brooklyn Nets are having right now, it’s hard to say they are in a position to lecture the Islanders about winning and how to run a team. Besides, I don’t see Ranter and company really having too much input on Wang’s decision making while he still owns the team.
Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:After the great years the two Barclays teams had last year, it’s kind of unbelievable that both are at the bottom of their conferences. The Islanders still run hockey operations so as far as we know Barclays has no say in it. I’m sure they don’t want a last place team moving into their arena but we don’t know if there are performance penalties written into the lease or anything like that.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:It’s a question to me as well. Maybe Snow tried to make a move for a goaltender or defenseman and didn’t have any takers. And then decided that acquiring Vanek would help the team. But that’s more of a guess than anything. The answer is he was trying to jumpstart the team and believed that trading for Vanek would do so.