Kevin SchultzThe Islanders goaltending situation is the most pressing concern for the team this summer and, at the moment, the team does not have a goaltender with an NHL game to his name signed to a contract for next season (although they do have a pair of RFAs).
NHL vet Evgeni Nabokov, who turns 39 in July, is unsigned and staring at unrestricted free agency on July 1. Both young goalies with NHL experience, Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson, will be restricted free agents this summer and will need new contracts. They will remain NYI property as long as the Islanders make qualifying offers to retain their rights. At the present moment no one is signed but of course there’s still much time.
In addition to all that, these three netminders were servicable, and that’s being generous, as they combined for the NHL’s worst team save percentage in the 2013-14 season, with a .894 mark. The NHL average save percenatage last year was .914.
The situation is now a bit more complicated, as Anders Nilsson has revealed to his home country’s media outlet Expressen.se that he is unwilling to play another year in the AHL with the Sound Tigers. Nilsson has spent the majority of the past three years in the AHL, with some time spent in the NHL as well.
The translated version of the article is clear on Nilsson’s thoughts:
“My hope and my goal is to play in the NHL, but I do not want to play in the AHL. So it will not be the NHL so it will be well anywhere in Europe.”
So there it is, Europe or the NHL for Anders Nilsson next year. You almost have to wonder if Snow knew this, or at least had a feeling. As of February 28 of this year, Nilsson only had 10 NHL games on his resume. After that point, he played in 13 of the Islanders final 22 games. Nilsson finished the 2013-14 campaign with an .896 save percentage.