An independent blog on the New York Islanders and the NHL by a guy from New York.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Free Agency, Part 1


Yesterday, day one of free agency opened and your New York Islanders announced 3 deals by 12:15pm.



They quickly addressed their need for a backup goaltender by signing 6’1, 220# Thomas Greiss to 2-year, $3 million contract. Greiss was with Penguins last season posting a 9-6-3 record in 20 games with a 9.08 Sv% and 2.59gaa.  It’s the 4th NHL team for Greiss who has also played for his native Germany on the international stage.  Credits include the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, the 2010 World Championships and the 2004, 2005 and 2006 World Junior Championships.  Pierre LeBrun, “Kings made strong push on Greiss but he went with Islanders instead.”


I always thought Greiss was a good fit for the Islanders and his analytics matched the kind of guy they were looking for to back up Halak.  They either passed on Neuvirth or he wanted to play for Philadelphia based on the hope of becoming their starter.  Neuvirth got a two-year deal worth $1.5 M in year 1 and $1.75 million in year 2 which was comparable to the deal Greiss got from the Islanders.





Arthur Staple announced that the Thomas Hickey deal was made official. Hickey agreed to a 3 yr. contract extension worth $2.2M per.  Hickey was added off the waiver wire on January 15th, 2013 from LA and has filled in on the Isles blue line admirably in the roles he has been asked for.  Per islanders.nhl.com, “Hickey led all Islanders defensemen in games last season (81), set a career high in assists (20) and matched his career high in points (22).”  Hickey has 7 & 41 for 48 pts in 202 career NHL games for the Islanders. He has played for 2 gold medal teams (08 & 09) for Canada internationally and served as Captain in 2009.




Finally, 6’3, 225# F, Kirill Petrov agreed to a 1 yr, standard entry-level contract with New York.  Petrov was the Isles third round selection, 73rd overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and has played in the KHL since 2006.  Petrov had 5 & 10 for 15 points with Kazan Ak-Bars of the Kontinental Hockey League last season. Per Islanders.nhl.com, “Playing parts of nine seasons in Russia’s top hockey division, Petrov has tallied 125 points (61 goals, 64 assists) in 318 games with Ak-Bars and Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk.”  Petrov has represented Russia 3 times in international competition.


Petrov was thought to be an early first round talent, but slipped in the draft due to his contractual obligations in the KHL.  The Islanders took a gamble and although he hasn’t reached that level in the K, they hope to see if his perceived potential will blossom with the chance to play with a much improved New York line up in the NHL. 



After the first two days of the free agency period, it seems very possible that Petrov & Pulock may be the only other roster additions the team makes.  This is unless an opportunity opens up via team’s cap issue or low cost trade for an Isles type of target.


The Islanders are about $10M under the cap and still need to sign F, Brock Nelson, so they still have some valuable cap space looking into next season.  The rumors of their desire to trade Michael Grabner (13 pts in 34 games in 14/15) and off load his $5M salary ($3M cap hit) are said to be true by insiders.  Especially after undergoing his second sports hernia surgery last season and seeing a decline in his “speed” game.  With these variables, the ability to now move Grabner is sure to factor into the future plan and is probably a limiting factor on the possibility adding another player via trade.





Isles Notes:



It is most probable that guys like Boulton, Kennedy, McDonald & Visnovsky have most likely been passed over for a future with the team and won’t be resigned.


Islanders sign six to two-way deals to restock the sparse forward cupboard and add/renew contracts in Bridgeport. 


Matt Donovan signed with Buffalo.

Aaron Ness signed with Washington.

Kael Mouillierat signed a two-way deal with Pittsburgh.

Brett Gallant signed with Columbus.

UPDATE:  Colin McDonald has signed with Philadelphia.


***


Check out the new shirt from my friends at Isles Army.









Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Islanders Re-Sign Lee


Today, your New York Islanders announced today that 24 yr old, Anders Lee (F) has agreed to terms on a $15M, four-year, $3.75M per contract extension.  Lee was 25 and 16 for 41 pts in 76 games in his rookie season with the Isles.  After a brief tune up in Bridgeport, Lee jumped into the Isles line up and became a regular contributor last season, including a few tours on the first line with John Tavares.




The former 6th round selection wasn’t sure he wanted to play hockey at one time, but said he was committed to the Islanders after they drafted him in 2009. Overall, Lee has 46 pts in 49 games of AHL play and 57 points in 100 NHL games with New York.
On Lee, Islanders general manager, Garth Snow said, “We’re thrilled to have another home-grown talent signed long term.”



Anders Lee told Arthur Staple that the game 6 & 7 scratches didn't change his view of the Islanders organization. "That had nothing to do with where I want to be. This has been home for me."  Lee went on to tell islanders.nhl.com, “I’m extremely excited to finalize this deal and ensure that I’m a New York Islander for the next four seasons,” Lee said. “The organization has been nothing but first class to me from the moment I was drafted. I look forward to competing for the Stanley Cup in each year while playing in front of the best fans in the NHL."



Stephen Lorenzo said, “I'm told Garth Snow is done for the day, but I'd expect Hickey is done tomorrow. That deal is close.”  The Hickey deal is said to be in the 3yr/$6.5M range.  Soon, the same may be true for F, Brock Nelson.  Nelson has no arbitration rights.



The Islanders will open the July 1st free agency period with the eyes of Isles country fixed upon them.  While I don’t expect much aside from a backup goaltender signing, if the right opportunity presents itself, you could see a wing added to the roster in the next few days.  There is also a chance Snow sticks with the group he has for now.  He has said as much a few times now.



Last season, Boychuk and Leddy weren’t added until the last minute, so it’s reasonable to assume more of the same for Snow and company going into the inaugural season at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.  Per @NHLnumbers, “The Islanders have 11 forwards, 5 defense men, and a goalie signed with almost $13 million in free cap space.” 



The Islanders have options going into next season.  Tomorrow at noon, more of the picture may start to come into focus. 




Just enjoy the ride.





Isles Notes:



Isles extend qualifying offers to six restricted free agents.  Isles RFA, John Persson was not given QO.



Isles announce Blue and White rosters.   



Per Robert Brodsky, “Nassau today issued an RFP to renovate rink at Cantiague Park in Hicksville for @NYIslanders practice facility.  35,000-sq.-ft. two-story building being fast tracked. Work on 1st floor to be done by 1/16; 2nd floor office by 3/16; the rest by 6/15/16."



Doug Weight was not inducted into the HHOF.





Sunday, June 28, 2015

The 2015 NHL Entry Draft, New York Islanders Part 2


On Friday night, Mathew Barzal told Garth Snow, "You guys came outta nowhere" while backstage at the NHL Draft. Snow replied with, "That's what we do".

Snow shocked a lot of people by trading Reinhart and then an additional pick for what later turned out to be two first round picks (Barzal & Beauvillier) for the Isles prospect pool.  After an offensively focused round 1 yesterday, Snow and the Islanders settled in for what could be done to add more defensive system depth in rounds 2 thru 7.


Round 3: 

With the 82nd overall pick, the Islanders selected defenseman Mitchell Vande Sompel.  Vande Sompel had 12 & 51 for 63 points in 58 games with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.  He was summarized as an undersized (5’10, 185#), but also as a dynamic offensive defenseman who skates well & generates offensive pressure.  Vande Sompel is comfortable in both zones and was seen as one of the best offensive defenseman available in this year’s draft.



Round 4:

With the 112th overall pick, the Isles selected 6’0, 172# defenseman, Parker Wotherspoon of the WHL's Tri-City Americans.  Wortherspoon is known for his strong skating & stickhandling ability.  Other qualities include hockey smarts with a calm and cool style while moving the puck and joining the rush.  He also has no problem stepping up to answer any physical challenges.  He has potential to be a top 4 D-Man capable of developing into a strong power play quarterback. 


Round 5:

With the 147th overall pick, New York selected defenseman, Ryan Pilon of the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings.  Pilon is the nephew of storied physical defensemen, Rich Pilon and stands at 6’2, 200#.  Known as another solid two-way defenseman with a strong work ethic, Pilon has been called a tenacious & fairly complete D prospect who is capable of stepping up to many challenges.  Pilon has a hard shot and good skating ability that enables him to manage the ice well and make him effective in all 3 zones.



Round 6:

The Islanders made history when they selected defensemen, Andong Song of Lawrenceville School (NJ) with the 172nd pick. Song (6’0, 161#) is the first ever Chinese-born player selected in the NHL Entry Draft.  He captained China at the 2015 U-18 World Jr. Championships (D-II).  Lawrenceville coach Etienne Bilodeau said Song is a steady go-to player on the ice who handles the puck well, has good positioning and is very reliable on both sides of the puck.


Round 7:

With the 202nd overall pick, the Islanders selected 6’1, 176# defenseman, Petter Hansson of Linkoping (Sweden).   Hansson had 15 & 19 for 34 pts in 38 games this past season with Linkoping's Jr. Team and has won a J18 silver & J20 bronze medal.  He was also the top goals and points scorer in the J20 14-15 campaign.




Isles Notes:


Per Arthur Staple, “Isles head scout Trent Klatt on first-rounder Mathew Barzal: "He's a top 5 player in any other draft... He's just really flippin' good."

Former Islander’s prospect, Griffin Reinhart on NYI: “It’s a little bit disappointing but they treated me well, I just wasn’t in their plans.”


Per Hockey Analytics Writer, @garik16, “Isles wind up with prospects ranked in the NHL Nations top 45 at 8, 12, 24, and 32. Pretty damn good.”


Friday, June 26, 2015

The 2015 NHL Entry Draft, New York Islanders Part 1


So Your New York Islanders were not doing much in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, right?


Garth Snow traded D, Griffin Reinhart to the Edmonton Oilers for the 16th and 33rd picks.  Reinhart was selected 4th overall in 2012.


With the 16th overall selection, they chose C, Matthew Barzal.  Barzal is 6’0, 175# and noted as being a highly skilled skater with high end talent and vision that make him a dangerous and dynamically creative player.  Described as “clutch,” his poise with the puck aids his hockey sense and while looking for high percentage passes, utilizes his quick shot.  And is also noted as comfortable jumping in on defense and is a complete two-way player.  Barzal tallied 57 points (12 g, 45 a) in 44 games this past season with the @SeattleTBirds.  The downside could be the question on how Barzal's healed knee will respond moving forward.  This acquisition by Garth Snow is being called a “steal” by many of the broadcast experts, especially after Dougie Hamilton was acquired for the #15, 45 & 52nd picks.  Reinhart cost the Oilers a #16 & 33rd pick with almost no NHL experience.  Think about that.


The buzz on adding Barzal seems to be positive by many of the experts and adds another offensive dimension to what is becoming a talented offensive squad for New York.  While Reinhart was once thought of as a top end defensive prospect in the organization, he seemed to lack mobility at this point and struggled this season in limited action with the team.  According to a source, they (Islanders) moved a player who may not have had the best attitude behind the scenes in Reinhart.  The additions of Boychuk & Leddy along with system depth helped the Isles pull the trigger on this deal.  With the play of Mayfield definitely affecting Reinhart's time with the Islanders, doing more with his opportunities last Season when called upon in my opinion.  And with Barzal still there at 16, Arthur Staple said the Isles made their move for the guy they wanted. 



What or who is next?



Well, a little later in round 1, Garth Snow traded the 33rd and 72nd pick to Tampa Bay for the 28th selection, choosing LW, Anthony Beauvillier.  Oh, and this is one of the picks that the Rangers traded away in the St. Louis deal.  Even better.


Beauvillier is called a dynamic scoring center with good hockey sense. Though smaller at 5’10, 170#, his speed, skill, and cunning are said to make up for his size.  Beauvillier (42& 52 for 94 pts in 67games with Shawnigian) is noted as a tough & talented puck-handler with good hands who can score and block shots well.  He is also credited as equally efficient in the passing game with good on ice vision.
 
 

So time will tell how much of an impact these two players will have for the Isles, but Snow turned Reinhart into two first round picks in what is being considered the deepest in years.

Rounds 2-7 are up tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Tavares & Preseason In Brooklyn


New York Islanders General Manager, Garth Snow was not named a finalist for GM of the year following the 2014-15 season, despite adding Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy to help his team achieve the 101 point mark season.  Snow was 5th in voting with 3 first place votes.  While this had some a little confused, your Islanders would be represented at the NHL Awards again this season by team captain, John Tavares.
 

Tavares was nominated for the 2nd time in 3 seasons for the Hart Trophy.  He shared this season’s honor with Carey Price and Alex Ovechkin.


The Hart was awarded to Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. Tavares finished 3rd in Hart voting by the way.  The last New York Islander to win the trophy was Brian Trottier during the 1978-79 NHL season.


John Tavares had 86 points for the Isles and was instrumental in a breakout season for the new look Islanders. 

 
 
 

Isles announce preseason schedule with three games at @barclayscenter highlighting eight-game calendar.  

 

Date
Visitor
Home
Time (ET)
Arena
Mon. Sept. 21*
Flyers
Islanders
7 p.m.
Barclays Center
Islanders
Flyers
7 p.m.
PPL Center (Allentown, PA)
Wed. Sept. 23
Devils
Islanders
7 p.m.
Barclays Center
Fri. Sept 25*
Islanders
Devils
7 p.m.
Prudential Center
Islanders
Flyers
7 p.m.
Wells Fargo Center
Sat. Sept. 26
Islanders
Hurricanes
6 p.m.
Scotiabank Centre (Halifax, NS)
Mon. Sept 28
Capitals
Islanders
7 p.m.
Barclays Center
Sun. Oct. 4
Islanders
Capitals
5 p.m.
Verizon Center

 




 

Isles Notes:



Isles open the regular season in Brooklyn against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, October 9th.


Islanders said to be close to a contract extension with D Thomas Hickey.

 
Per Stephen Lorenzo, “Lubomir Visnovsky, who turns 39 in August, is “definitely" going to play next season per his agent. “He really likes Isles, for sure." 

Garth Snow was quoted as saying he did not anticipate bringing Lubo Visnovsky back.


Kyle Okposo trade rumors, per Pierre McGuire: Isles were frustrated with Okposo's playoff performance.


Congratulations to #Isles Captain @91Tavares on being named to the NHL's 2014-15 1st All-Star Team!

 
Jack Capuano was 10th in Adams voting.
 

Anders Lee was 9th in Calder voting.

 

NHL Notes:
 

Board approves 3 on 3 OT, coach’s challenge and the start of NHL expansion process.

 

***   I am just floored with the courage of a kid like Jonathan Pitre. I am humbled just watching his struggle and how amazing his family is.  The Butterfly Child.   ***

 

 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: ECHL Missouri Affiliation, Pre Season vs. Philly & Sundstrom


The New York Islanders announced an affiliation agreement with the Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL.  Missouri is entering its 7th season of operations, completing five seasons in the now-defunct Central Hockey League (CHL) before joining the ECHL in 2014-15. “Lamar Hunt Jr. is the new President and Owner of the franchise, which has made playoff appearances in five of the past six seasons and won the CHL Franchise of the Year Award in four consecutive seasons (2011-12 to 2013-2014).” 

Garth Snow said, ““The Mavericks are a highly-regarded organization with a high-end coaching staff that’s capable of developing players from the ECHL, to the AHL, and eventually to the New York Islanders.” 

Along with the AHL, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Isles prospects will have more opportunity to find a place in the team’s developmental system based on their skill level.  The association with the Mavericks at the East Coast level will allow New York to develop newer prospects enhance their on ice proficiency, strength training & conditioning while adding depth to the organization’s pro scouting system.
 

Visit the new ECHL affiliate at www.missourimavericks.com.



Isles preseason games against Philadelphia Flyers announced in split squad match ups on 9/21 at PPL Center in Allentown PA and at the Barclays Center, then a 9/25 date at Philly.

 

New York Islanders prospect (F) Johan Sundström signed by Frölunda HC of the SHL (Sweden) to a two-year contract as another casualty of system depth.  Sundstrom was 8 & 10 for 18 points in 40 games with Bridgeport last season.








Monday, June 8, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: More Petrov, The Blue & White and Good Things Remain


Per @IgorEronko, “#AkBars announces Kiril Petrov's contract termination noting he's on the move to the #NHL #Isles #KHL.”  Is this a final indication that an Isles signing is imminent?  Arthur Staple reminds us that Petrov can not officially be signed by the Islanders until July 1st, but insinuates that the rumors are correct and it’s all but a done deal.
The New York Islanders have announced that Cantiague Park in Hicksville will serve as teams new practice facility and business offices after renovations are completed in partnership with TOH.  The team has committed to hosting five open team practices per year, as well as two annual scrimmages and three annual public player autograph sessions.  The facility will also feature an official Islanders Pro Shop.  Under the agreement, County taxpayers will share in revenue generated at the facility.”   


The Islanders will play their annual Blue & White Scrimmage at the Barclays Center on Wednesday, July 8 at 7 p.m. in Brooklyn.  Prospects, Michael Dal Colle, Josh Ho-Sang, Griffin Reinhart, & Ryan Pulock are scheduled to participate.


The Barclays Center issued a press release to once and for all, officially reaffirm that many fan & team traditions aren’t going anywhere. The familiar Isles team logo & colors, the Blue and Orange Army & announcer Roger Luce will all remain as a fixture with the team as they open the 2015-16 season in Brooklyn.  Fans will also notice all of the familiar tribute banners hanging from the rafters in places of honor around the Barclays Center.



Isles Notes:


Per @FedFedRMNB, “Agent of Latvian RFA F Miks Indrasis told R-Sport his client has a tryout offer from one of the #NHL teams.”  Rumor has the Islanders as that interested team per NBC.  “The 24-year-old had 16 goals and 31 points in 59 games with Dinamo Riga during the 2014-15 season. Indrasis went to the Chicago Blackhawks’ camp in 2012 and the Vancouver Canucks’ camp in 2013.”


UPDATE:  Per Arthur Staple, “Also confirmed many reports that Latvian F Miks Indrasis will be at #Isles camp. Indrasis, 24, played last 5 seasons for Dynamo Riga in KHL.”
 



Sound Tigers Notes:


The BST have signed F, JaredGomes to an AHL contract for the 2015-16 season.


Colin Markison has signed an AHL contract with the BST for the 2015-16 season.