Friday, July 31, 2009

Islanders Interested in Kessel & Sturm

From James Murphy of

"So that is where the two parties stand. There were no reports of offer sheets, and while there have been recent rumors of the Islanders and Sharks inquiring about a Kessel trade and the Islanders possibly looking at Marco Sturm, follow-ups have turned up nothing substantial."

My thanks to KuklasKorner for the link. At least we now know that the Islanders have inquired about Kessel, and that Sturm is also on their radar. Sturm has a lot of speed, and could score a bunch of goals on a team like the Islanders. He could also help out on the power-play where he scores around one-third of his goals. We'll have to see if the Islanders are also after Zherdev after his arbitration meeting as he and Sturm will have close to the same contract.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Talking Arbitration

Talking Arbitration & Buy-Outs

This is a good update on the Zherdev arbitration case, plus where he might end up. Please click above.

My take: if what has been said is true then the Islanders must make a good inquiry about Zherdev. More later.

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Nikolai Zherdev Is A Must For Isles

On Friday, the New York Rangers will have an arbitration hearing against Nikolai Zherdev, in my opinion, the Rangers best offensive weapon from last year, to determine how much Zherdevs' next contract will be worth. Here is the low-down on what I've read. From Larry Brooks of the Post: "Now, with Zherdev seeking a contract believed in the neighborhood of $4.5M, there's little doubt the Blueshirts would walk away from an arbitration award that's even a nickel more than $3.25M, and thus make the 24-year-old winger an unrestricted free agent."

Why Zherdev? Well there are quite a few reasons. See instead of talking to "Sources" or scouts I actually read a few Rangers comments. They have seen him play the most last year, and this is what they had to say about Zherdev.

-Tremendous talent on the puck.
-Enormous upside
-Skates with explosive strides
-Best one-on-one players
-Oozes offense
-Great playmaker
-One of the best offensive players on a bad offensive team
-Offensive skills and upside are just too much to pass up

Of course there were some negative feedback which I found.

-"Lazy attitude" work ethic
-Disappears for shifts and whole stretches of games

When there was a poll conducted by the Daily News: Keep 'em or Dump 'em?, Zherdev was dumped off the team by 63 percent.

So why should the Islanders sign him to a contract? Here are a few:

-First and foremost, he can score goals, maybe a lot more if put in the right environment

-He has the potential to be a top line winger (can play both sides)

-He has the speed that is required of Scott Gordons system

-Despite not being solid defensively, Zherdev was a plus 6, second only to Ryan Callahan (+7).

-He's a 4th overall pick in the 2003 draft, 24 years of age, and is at the right age for the youth movement.

-If his arbitration is over 3.25 million but below 4 million, he may come at a cheaper discount than say Tanguay (reports of 4-5 million) and Comrie (4 million contract last year).

-It would plug up a first line hole, until Petrov is slated to join the NHL.

-The Islanders could boast a very fast, young, and potentially play as a spoiler team that would at least make trouble for the bubble teams this upcoming year. Maybe knock a few off this year.

The Islanders should at least look into Zherdevs request, and if the money is right, should take a gamble on a player with a lot of potential, and nothing to lose along with a number one pick in Tavares, a future scorer in Okposo, a playmaker in Bailey, enough goaltending to steal a few games, and a group of young players that are waiting to make their mark as Islanders. If you're a fan, you want something like this to fall on the Islanders lap. We wait for Friday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two Down, One To Go

From various sources:

Jack Hillen, has signed a two year deal with the Islanders.

"We are happy to have Jack signed. He proved to be a reliable defenseman and should continue to be a productive player for our team.” -Garth Snow

Now that Thompson and Hillen have signed their contracts, the final restricted free agent left is Comeau. Let's hope he does not pull a Bergenheim, and plays in Europe this year.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Coming Up Tomorrow

I'm currently doing some research involving a player I believe the Islanders should consider going after that does not hinder the youth movement. But until I can do more work on him, I'll keep the name hidden until tomorrow. Also working on a few stories involving the next few steps the Islanders need to make during this offseason. What do you think the Islanders should do next?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Slow Day

For now, there really is not anything going on. Just a few morsels to nibble on.

The Governor of New York is currently at the Coliseum, promoting the Light House Project.

The only two UFA players that are making any kind of headlines in Islanders Country appear to be Miro Satan, and Jason Williams. No names mentioned for a defenseman.

Satan I've already stated, so I'll move on to Jason Williams. From my take, he's a soft player, who needs talent around him to make him better. His skating is not great, but he can score goals, which is something this team is lacking. But do the Islanders need another 3rd liner? I don't think so.

Comeau is the only reason, why these two players are being mentioned. Satan and Williams may be more affordable for one year, a good trade deal later on in the season, and they can build up their value for next year. Comeau, if not signed, may end up playing in Europe this year, since he's already turned down a one-way contract, and is obviously looking for more money.

That would be a major step back for him, and his future, just ask Bergenheim.

The Islanders need first line talent. They may have it this year in Okposo, and maybe later on in Tavares. That's what this year will determine. This off season is still very much alive, and it continues into training camp. Fans need to stay patient, and let things unfold. The Islanders still have plenty of cap space, which could lead to a trade, or they will continue to acquire free agents at great deals. Nevertheless, the Islanders still need to tweak the team a little more for fans to be excited about.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thompson Signed

From Newsday:

Forward Nate Thompson, who was scheduled to have an NHL arbitration
hearing on Monday, avoided that process by reaching agreement today
with the Islanders. He signed a one-year, two-way contract.

"Nate made an immediate impact last season, fitting right into our team system,” said Garth Snow, General Manager, New York Islanders. “He is the type of player every team looks for by giving an extra effort every time he steps on the ice.”-Garth Snow

This will give some flexibility to the roster. I had mentioned before, if Thompson did not have a good camp, that he would probably be waived.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Miro Satan Talking With Islanders

From Spector's Hockey:

RDS.CA: recently reported the NY Islanders are currently discussing a possible return to Long Island of Miroslav Satan, who played three seasons with the Islanders.

While Satan would help with the veteran side of scoring, this was the same guy who was demoted by the Penguins during the season, and could only come up with 17 goals last season. He would be at best a third liner, so unless Snow has a trade involved, or will not sign Blake Comeau, don't expect Satan back, as it goes against the youth movement.

UPDATE: 7.25.09 8
:37pm This coming from Allan Walsh on Twitter.
"I can confirm we are currently in negotiations with the NYI on a contract for Miro Satan."

Oh boy. Well now that's two sources that cannot be ignored. I have to believe it's because of Comeau having major differences on how much he should be paid, and what Snow is willing to offer. More to come.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Charles Wang On WFAN

For those of you who missed the interview with Charles Wang on WFAN, or for those who would like to know what's going on with the Islanders plans on the Lighthouse Project, the team, and their future, please listen here. Later on in the evening, I will have my take on what, and how I thought of the interview, while also trying to have my own opinion on what will be the future of this team.

UPDATE 11:34PM: Just a few thoughts about what i thought of the whole interview. First and foremost, Mike Francesa was not prepared to interview Charles Wang. Too many mistakes were made, including a mislead about DiPietro being out the entire season. Francesa continued to ask the same questions, over and over again, with the interview quickly becoming a bore.

This comment came from Jim Baumbach of Newsday: "Francesa really knows very little about the Lighthouse Project and the issues surrounding it. He also seems to pushing Kate Murray's talking point that he should rebuild Nassau Coliseum instead of the Lighthouse Project. Which leaves out the fact that Nassau County owns the Coliseum, not Wang. Francesa has as much right to re-do the Coliseum as Wang does."

That right there folks is the big deal, Nassau, not Wang owns the Coliseum. Wake up Nassau, and Hempstead and make the right choices on August 4th, and October 3rd.

What's The Next Move?

I wanted to right about what the Islanders future moves could be for this remaining off season. The signing of Biron was certainly a surprise to many, including my self, but after reading Point Blank and having them state that DiPietro won't be available until at least Thanksgiving, the move by Snow was necessary.

Another major reason (more or less a 1a reason) for getting Biron is the upcoming schedule for the Islanders. Let us assume for now that DiPietro is in fact out until Thanksgiving. That's at least 25 games missed by DiPietro. Granted, Roloson will probably eat up 17-20 games, but Snow is very concerned about the remaining 5-8 games that would have been played by Monroe, who is definitely slated to be in Bridgeport this year. The signing of Biron gives the Islanders better than a 50% chance to steal a few games, and possibly improve the team an extra 7 points for that stretch of time.

But what about the rest of the team? Everyone wants a Tanguay signing. Who doesn't? The Islanders need an enforcer. The Atlantic Division have been on steroids since the free agency started July 1st except for the Islanders. So what exactly are the Islanders waiting for? Well first and foremost, they still have three players to sign in Comeau, Hillen, and Thompson. They were all given two-way deals, and from all the readings, these players want one-way deals. So let's pretend that all sign today to one-way contracts. What happens?

Let's start off with Thompson. The Islanders will probably put him, along with Sim on the waiver wire, and be sent down to the Bridge. Sorry Nate. But while they're being placed on waivers, I wouldn't be surprised if Snow looked into the waiver wire to pick up a tough enforcer who can play more than 5 minutes a game.

Now for Hillen. He's signed, which makes the Islanders have 7 defenceman. You can't sign a defensman unless you waive another d-man (Freddy Meyer perhaps). Other than that the Islanders would have to make a trade (Hello Sutton).

Comeau being signed has the same effect on the offense as it does the defense. The Islanders still need that enforcer, and with Comeau signed, and 7 defenceman, If a top 6 forward is signed, then you have a 22 man roster and a team is only allowed 21, then finally a trade would have to be made to make room on the roster.

Does Snow want to go that path? He's mentioned before that he really wasn't searching the free agency, and looked what happened. The first thing that needs to get done is sign the restricted free agents and then Islanders fans, assume your summer shopping is over until close to training camp. You'll probably end up with another surprise or two.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Biron an Islander

From the New York Post

Ensuring stability in nets regardless of the state of Rick DiPetro's health, the Islanders have signed free agent goaltender Martin Biron to a one-year, $1.4 million steal of a deal, The Post has learned.


"Adding Marty gives us three bona-fide number one goalies," said Garth Snow, General Manager, New York Islanders. "We learned about the importance of stability in our line-up from last year and he now allows us to have another quality starter."

This is certainly an interesting move for the Islanders. This means that Munroe will in fact start the season in Bridgeport. Now there really is no rush for DiPietro to return this season. I'm sure Islanders fans are going to say that DiPietro will not be even close to playing, or that things are worse off than what management is telling everyone. But let's face facts. Dp was not going to play a lot of games this year anyways, so to have three quality goaltenders in camp, is nothing more than a great insurance policy, and the Islanders have enough depth to get through a tough first half schedule. If DiPietro is healthy, then Biron becomes an excellent trade option at the deadline.

The DP Factor

Both Point Blank, and Islanders Independent have good stories on DP today.

To summarize both is actually easy. DiPietro may not be ready to play by the start of the season. That's why Roloson was signed to a starting goaltender's salary for the next two years. The other decision by the Islanders was to sign Philly Phantom goalie Scott Munroe to a contract. That leaves the Islanders with a starting goaltender, and probably a good number 2. Roloson will play in most of the games with or without DiPietro, so both Roloson and Munroe signed and ready to play at the NHL level, is a much better combination than last years duo of MacDonald, and Danis. So Kudos goes to Garth Snow.

To make sure there is enough depth on the team in Bridgeport, the Islanders drafted second rounder Mikko Koskinen, who will be playing along side Nathan Lawson, who also was a happy surprise last year for the Islanders. They also drafted Anders Nilsson, and still have a few from previous drafts, that make this a very deep team in goal. So for those who wanted the Islanders to build from the goaltender out, you got your wish.

Here is my take. With Roloson signed for the next two years, that is how long Rick DiPietro has to fully recover, get rid of the rust, and become the starting goaltender again. With this current youth movement, and improvement out of the NHL cellar, there should not be a rush, like last year's mistake, and not have Rick step on the ice until he is 100% healthy.

If this team does improve during the course of the year and Dipietro is fully recovered, you now have folks what I will call the "DP Factor." You still have Roloson playing in the majority of games, but now you have another stellar starting goaltender as the backup. Not even the best teams in the East, nor League for that fact, will light up the lamp as much as they would like to. Not only will this give the Islanders a chance to win every game, but they just might be able to steal (highway robbery!!!) more than just a few games.

The Islanders have DiPietro under contract for a long term investment. They already have seen the consequences of rushing him and having an ill-ready DiPietro play for them. Don't risk short term gain with your long term investment.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jonathan Cheechoo?

From SI.COM:

The Sharks would love to move Jonathan Cheechoo, but the market is not exactly bullish for lead-footed, 12-goal, third-liners who have $6 million coming to them over the next two seasons. Los Tiburones need to clear some cap space, so the former Rocket Richard Trophy-winner (56 goals in 2005-06) likely could be had for picks and/or mid-level prospects. Might make for an interesting reclamation project on a team looking to add some depth to its offense. Nashville, Ottawa, Minnesota and the Islanders might be in the running . . .

My thanks goes to Spector for his take on this rumor: "Cheechoo won't be moved unless he's part of a package with someone else as the centerpiece..."

My Take:

6 million for a third liner, who may resurrect himself with another team? Not a good idea for the Islanders. If we're not going to pay 5 million for Tanguay, it makes no sense to pay that much, and probably receive very little.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

RFA Don't Sign there Qualifiers

Jack Hillen, Nate Thompson, and Blake Comeau, all elected not to sign their qualifying offers to the New York Islanders. Nate Thompson has arbitration rights, and is fighting for a one-way deal. The news of Comeau and Hillen was broken by Point Blank.

Here are the stats from all three players. Thompson has a total of 43 games played for the Islanders compiling a whopping 2 goals, 2 assists, for a combined total of 4 points and a plus/minus of a minus 11. I have to say that Thompson is looking for a one-way contract, because he is not going to earn any more money.

Blake Comeau, who ended up playing in Bridgeport the first quarter of the season, had a better year in totaling 7 goals, 18 assists for 25 points. His bright spot is that he appeared in 53 games. His plus/minus was a minus 17, again, I can only see Blake looking for a one-way contract. Comeau though has more upside then Thompson does.

Jack Hillen played in 40 games earning a goal and 5 assists for 6 points with a plus/minus rating of a minus 9. Again, like the other two, these numbers do not favor Hillen getting more money, and also could be looking for a one-way deal.

After reading different views, and looking at the numbers, I've come to my conclusion: This is not a big deal. Comeau right now is slated as the third line winger. If he is signed to a one-way deal, forget about signing anybody in the free agency. If Comeau has a really good year, he could be averaging 40 points a year, which is certainly a third line potential.

Hillen is probably the 7th defenseman on the depth chart of this team. Again he replaces Thomas Pock, which would be an improvemant. A one-way contract may not hurt. He certainly won't get the ice time he needs to fill in those holes of development, but I don't see for now the Islanders signing anyone else.

Thompson is a different story. If Thompson doesn't have a good camp, he could be waived anyways, so it won't matter if he wins arbitration or not, and he will be replaced on the occasion, by the occasional call-up enforcer.

If the following players do want one-way contracts, then a one year deal could keep them happy. However, if they are looking for a longer term deal, then they may have to accept their two-way contracts for two-three years, because the improving prospects will be coming up sooner rather than later, and all three players need to prove this year to the Islanders that they belong. They all want to be Islanders, just not Sound Tigers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Here's What We Know

After reading Greg Logan's Live Chat, and getting my question answered, I'm more inclined to believe what Greg says is truth. Having said that, here is what I am concluding:

Jon Sim will not be an Islander this year. He will either be dealt or playing in Bridgeport.

The roster is mostly complete. Greg still believes that an enforcer will be available through a trade or Free agency. "Snow has said he's not looking to add any free agents at the moment."

NO truth to Alex Tangauy coming to the Islanders. His agent has not returned Greg's phone calls. "Personally, I don't believe the Isles are after Tanguay at all. "

My question to Greg was as follows: "
In your opinion, other than Tavares, could you see any other prospects making their NHL debut this year? "

Greg's answer:
"I could see some of the prospects who will be at Bridgeport making their Islanders debut, including Justin DiBenedetto, Robin Figren, Mark Katic and Dustin Kohn. All could be injury callups if they perform well enough to earn it. "

Snow will use his cap space for future moves to improve on the team. From Greg: "Next summer, if the salary cap limit drops, you might see Snow begin to use his cap room very effectively. By then, he should be ready to weed out the prospects who don't seem as thought they're going to make the grade. That will make room for free-agent additions."

The overall depth and development of the organization is better than last year. From Greg: "
Clearly, there has been a major talent upgrade in the organization over the past two years. The talent level at this minicamp was significantly improved over a year ago. There's a lot of potential in the system now, and it's important that Gordon was especially happy with the talent in the organization now at the goaltender position."

All-in-all I'm thinking that the current team will improve from last year. By how much will determine how the players from last year develop in this off-season. I'm starting to believe that Jack Hillen will be the Islanders 7th defenseman, and Freddy Meyer's eventual replacement. Which leads to Greg's assessment that the Islanders will look for an enforcer, and keep him in Bridgeport: "
As for other trade targets, I suspect it might be for a more low-profile enforcer type who could go to Bridgeport."

Tavares Finally Signed

The New York Islanders have signed first overall pick, John Tavares to an entry level deal.

“It’s an exciting time for the Islanders organization as we develop our young talent into a contender,” said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. “John provides another important piece to help us achieve our ultimate goal of winning a Stanley Cup.”

“I’m excited to officially become a part of the New York Islanders organization and begin my professional career this upcoming season,” said Tavares. “I look forward to joining the Islanders and be part of a team that’s ultimate goal is to bring the Stanley Cup back to Long Island.”

Now with Tavares on board, the question remains as to what the Islanders will do next. But according to Newsday reporter Greg Logan, the team is 99 percent finished.

"In other words, free agency for the Islanders pretty much began and ended with the signing of goaltender Dwayne Roloson to serve as the backup for rehabbing Rick DiPietro or as fulltime starter until DiPietro's return. There's not going to be any scoring help added from the outside by all indications nor any size on defense."

If that is the case, then the roster will definitely look like a second year rebuild. However, the Islanders will still be under the cap floor to start the season, so one should expect the Islanders to sign a forward, possibly through a bonus laden contract. The other course of action is of course through a trade or two. The next two or three blogs may research whom I believe will be the more money-savy ways for the Islanders to reach the cap floor.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bailey Gets Buffed?

From Point Blank:

Bailey signed up with Train Like A Pro in Whitby, Ontario and is pleased with the early results. The 19-year old has strength training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and focuses on quickness on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He runs his conditioning plans by the Islanders training staff and also credits former NYI strength and conditioning coach Chris Schwarz for his guidance on nutrition.

“This is the first summer I really stuck with a smart diet,” said Bailey, obviously getting the memo a decade earlier in his pro career than Eddy Curry. “I really feel like it has made a difference.”

Bailey says his workout program is set at four weeks of relentless reps, followed by one week of lighter work, and continues right to the start of training camp. The results have been apparent, and there’s still 40% of the offseason remaining.

This was a big issue for Bailey to get into NHL shape. With his better conditioning and added muscle, he'll get stronger on the puck, and may actually make his sophomore year more successful, then a jinx. If his size can continue through the summer, watch for more points out of Bailey com the regular season.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Snow Looking To Make Moves

From Point Blank:

Snow did in fact contact Kovalev's agent and his availability before he signed with Ottawa. I wrote in my previous post that Snow would adhere to his words to not make any big moves to take away playing time to younger players. From now on, there is no trusting Snow :).

Also reported on Point Blank of a possible trade going down. Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Snow True To His Plan.

The Islanders finished last season in last place in the entire NHL. After reading a lot of comments from other web sites, the fan base seems to believe that signing back up goaltender Dwayne Roloson will not be enough for the Islanders to compete. More so, there should be a harder effort at signing a few more NHL free agents, then restocking the AHL. Snow did have a response:

"We have the flexibility to make additions to the lineup, but I'm leery of bringing in players who are going to take ice time and compromise the development of our young players," Snow said. "The path we're taking is building through the draft. The best situation for our team is if some young player comes to camp and earns a spot on our roster. I don't think I've deviated from the plan we made public a year ago." Garth Snow-Newsday.

As far as getting an enforcer, the Islanders don't seem to be in a real hurry.

"There's always going to be that element," Snow said. "Just because we haven't made a deal in July doesn't mean that will be the case by training camp. If we find the right fit with a player of that nature, we'll pursue it." Garth Snow-Newsday.

So what does this mean? It means don't hold your breath for anything, and stay patient. The Islanders transition period into a contender should be roughly 4 years. They have only completed one year so far. No need to rush nor stall the progress of the younger players if the Islanders are no where near contention.

That is a thought that should be understood by now, but fans still want to win now, and ruin the possible long term success of this team.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Now That I Can Blog Again

Had some minor problems, but am now back. Since I've been gone, the Islanders have drafted Tavares, signed three AHL players, and brought in Dwayne Roloson for two years to backup Rick DiPietro. The question now remains: Now what?

With Philly, Pitt, and the Rangers stocking up on some hitters and toughness, the Islanders will look, small, and beatable. An enforcer type player may be needed. If that does happen, then possibly a 7th defenseman may not be needed. But that's why Snow signed a few AHL players with somewhat of a mean streak. They could just be called up when needed.

The goalie situation looks good for this year, as long as our starter stays healthy. The defense lost Thomas Pock, which could be addition by subtraction. Look for the Islanders to make a move, possibly in training camp to replace him.

Now for the forward position: Snow has already stated that most of this team's lineup will not change. The only question marks will be that of Jon Sim, Nate Thompson, and possibly Blake Comeau. With Tavares being drafted, we can say goodbye to Hilbert. Unless the Islanders make another FA signing for a third line winger, expect most to be back.

More to come as this weekend winds down, and we can see who is left.

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