Notes: Garth Snow Wants to Retain Veterans

Via Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts column:

18. New York Islanders GM Garth Snow said he wants to keep netminder Evgeni Nabokov and defencemen Mark Streit and Lubomir Visnovsky (Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported that preliminary talks are underway with Streit). That’s consistent with what the Islanders are telling other teams, at least until we see if they have staying power into April.

19. Another exec on Snow: “Some guys are masters of the salary cap. He is master of the salary floor.” Great line — and not intended as an insult.

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

Keeping Streit and/or Visnovsky around would be a good thing for the Islanders — although it’s impossible, for me, to imagine Visnovsky wanting to re-sign with this team. Streit still has a couple good years left on him and Visnovsky has added defensive depth and has helped as a legitimate second point man on the powerplay. Despite the losing streak and poor play, the Islanders power play is still 7th in the league.

That being said, if the Islanders were to retain both Streit and Visnovsky, the team would have six defenders under contract next year (Carkner, Finley, Strait and MacDonald being the others). A seventh defender would be RFA Travis Hamonic. You really have to wonder what the team’s plans are for Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness, if Finley isn’t let go and Streit and Visnovsky are re-signed.

As for Nabokov, that honestly doesn’t make a lot of sense unless the Islanders are planning to cut ties with Rick DiPietro. If the Islanders retain both DiPietro and Nabokov on the NHL roster next season, they clearly aren’t willing to give Kevin Poulin/Anders Nilsson a shot in the NHL (or don’t believe that either is capable of playing in the NHL). Nilsson is currently hurt, leaving Poulin with the vast majority of the work in Bridgeport. It would make sense that the Islanders wouldn’t dump one of their NHL goalies at this very moment, but to retain both of them on the NHL roster next season makes no sense. Both Nabokov and DiPietro have save percentages under .900 as of today.