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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Islanders Re-Sign Poulin


Your New York Islanders have signed G, Kevin Poulin to a 1yr, 2-way deal.  Poulin will make $650K in NHL and $175K while playing in AHL, with $275K guaranteed.   Poulin was the final RFA  left to be signed by the Islanders.  He first elected to go to arbitration in lieu of accepting the Islanders initial offer, but the two parties were able to come to an agreement on terms without it.


Last season, Poulin was added to the Isles roster as a backup for Evgeni Nabokov, but struggled in net with an .891 Sv% & 3.29 gaa.  Poulin is a talented goaltender who still needs more time in the AHL before he can be counted on as an NHL regular.  He will have an opportunity to play with David Leggio in Bridgeport and compete for the Sound Tigers’ starting job for the upcoming season.  Poulin posted an 11-16-1 record until he was replaced by Anders Nilsson on March 1st last season.  Nilsson has since left the organization to play in Russia next season.


Poulin was the Islanders 5th round selection (126th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
 

 

Isles Notes:


The New York Islanders have been omitted from the NBC/NBCSN national schedule for the upcoming season and final campaign at the historic Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  NBC told IPB that the schedule may be “subject to change,” suggesting that the Islanders could be added to their schedule at a later date.


T.J. Brennan will wear No. 4 with the Islanders and Nikolai Kulemin will wear No. 86.

 
Capuano mentions that Brock Nelson will get the chance to play on top line with Tavares & Okposo.  He also mentions de Haan will get opportunity to be a top D paring with Hamonic.

 

Sound Tigers Notes:
 

Per Chip Malafronte, “West Haven's Mike Pereira (107 career points at UMass) signs AHL deal with Bridgeport Sound Tigers.”
 

Per Michael Fornabaio, “AHL two-way for Adam Phillips of UMass, 6-6 D.”

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Isles Qualify Four & Waive One


Your New York Islanders qualified and re-signed a few players on Monday.
 

D, Matt Donovan re-signed with the Islanders organization on a 1-year, two-way contract worth $826,875 ($65,000 in Bridgeport.)  Donovan was selected 96th overall in the fourth round by The Islanders in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.  He was 2 & 14 for 16 points last season and although he needs more seasoning to reach the NHL level on a regular basis, Donovan showed flashes of a solid two-way defender on the Isles blue line.
 

F, Brett Gallant re-signed with New York on a 1-year, two-way deal worth $605,000.  The 6’0, 190# enforcer brings big-league toughness and grit to the BST or Isles line up when he is on the ice.  Over the last 3 seasons, Gallant has played 84 games for the Sound Tigers & amassed 355 PIM’s.  In 4 games with the Isles last season, Gallant answered the call of established NHL enforcers and did more than hold his own against them.


F, Casey Cizikas was re-signed to a 2-year, $2M contract.  Cizikas was the Islanders fourth round selection, 92nd overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  He had 6 & 10 for 16 points in 80 games for New York last season.  Cizikas took responsibility for a disappointing 2013-14 season on the stat sheet and vowed to improve his results next season.  He is a high energy player who can change the flow of a game and has the capacity to score the big goal, like he did in game 4 of the Isles playoff win against Pittsburgh.  Cizikas has a Silver and a Gold medal for Team Canada in WJC and U-17 Worlds.


D, Calvin de Haan accepted at 3-year, $5.9 million contract. de Haan was selected by the Isles 12th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  De Haan scored 3 & 13 for 16 points for the Isles in 51 games in his 2013-14 rookie campaign.  He was instrumental in improving the team’s suspect defense& PK efforts last season after being called up from the BST.  De Haan is a two time Silver medal winner for Team Canada in the WJC’s.


These latest deals put the Isles $7M above the cap floor and raise their payroll to 17th in the NHL.  Kevin Poulin remains unqualified and has an arbitration hearing on July 30th.


In other team news, The Islanders placed Kirill Kabanov on unconditional waivers.  Kabanov was drafted by the Isles in 2010 in the 3rd round.  Although he had first round talent, he had fallen in the draft order for apparent behavioral issues which, according to reports were never fully corrected.  Tony Stabile reports that Kabanov had been late the first day of training camp, and then a again a few days later.  Also, that Garth Snow said that cost Kabonov an ELC that first year.  Chris Botta adds, “Memory of Kirill Kabanov: Each time I finally tracked down his latest agent's contact info, he had a new agent. Had at least 6.”


Kabanov had this to say on his Face Book account, “I think it is time to say goodbye to all NY Islanders fans. Thank you for all your wishes and for great support through all those years. It was my choice to move and huge respect to Garth for understanding. I spend 4 years with the Islanders organization and never had a chance to play even in AHL for them. But I still appreciate Islanders Medical staff for being with me after injury i get my first year in Bridgeport. and all the staff in Islanders organization.. And specially fans . You will be my friends forever no matter what team i will play in the future. I made great friends and fall in love with Long Island, but it is time to move.  Matt Saidman point out, “Kabanov played 32 games for Bridgeport in 2012-13 (48 overall) before getting hurt, then 16 more in 2013-14 before getting reassigned to ECHL Stockton.”

 

 

Isles Notes:


Missed the Isles Blue & White Scrimmage, or want to watch the full replay? Watch it here.


Per Eric Hornick, “Ex- Isles, G. Dineen & D. King named Head Coach & Associate HC of AHL Toronto Marlies.”
 

Per Chris Botta, “NHL sources: Wang has heard from "multiple" interested parties for Isles sale - beyond Barroway. CW deciding if he wants to sell.”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Blue, White, Lee & Ness


On Thursday night, 4,500 fans watched Team Blue win the Isles Blue & White scrimmage by a score of 7-3.  Several players made everyone take notice. Quine, Cammarata, Crus-Rydberg, Dal Colle, Czuczman, Reinhart & Pulock were among those with Strong performances.  But one player stood out with solid play and a 3 point night.  That was Joshua Ho-Sang.
 
 
 

When asked about the criticism from other scouts on the draft, Ho-sang said, "I don't play for those other scouts. I play for the Islanders."  Ho-Sang showed the fans in attendance that his apparent days of selfish play are long gone with a note worthy showing in the game.  Per islanders.nhl.com, Ho-Sang added, “It was pretty surreal,” on the crowd chanting his name. “I never expected it, but it made me nervous before I shot (in the shootout). It’s such an honor and the fans support was unbelievable.”


Per Arthur Staple, Ho-Sang said, "The coaching staff sent the message that if you want to be a pro, you have to excel in all aspects. Work ethic is what separates you if you want to play in the NHL."


Islanders mini camp will conclude on Sunday.
 



 
Anders Lee & Aaron Ness have accepted their qualifying offers from the New York Islanders.


Lee had 9 & 5 for 14 pts. in 22 games for the Islanders last season, and 22 & 41 pts. in 54 games as a member of the AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  Lee was selected by New York in the sixth round, 152nd overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
 


 
Ness had 1 & 2 for 3 pts. on the Isles last season, and 6 & 14 for 20 pts. in 48 games with Bridgeport.  Ness was a second-round pick, 40th overall for the Islanders in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.






Isles Notes:


Player signings at the NVMC include:  Mon 7/14, Brock Nelson : Mon 7/21, Thomas Hickey : Mon 7/28, Casey Cizikas. They will take place from 6:00-7:30pm.

 
Former Islander, Micheal Haley signs in San Jose on a 1 yr deal .



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Isles Mini Camp & Beyond


Today was the first day for your New York Islanders Mini Camp.  The teams recent draft picks, prospects and local invitees hit the ice NVMC for a week of instruction from Islanders and BST coaches alike.  Conditioning and media requirements were the tasks of the day and several members of the Isles media were there to "see what they could see."




With the rumors of Garth Snow standing pat with his current defensive line up, fans will wonder if guys like Reinhart, Pulock & Brennan are enough to fix the Isles defense (and power play) this season?



Along with de Haan, Mayfield & Czucman, the youthful look defense has talent, but falls short on experience even if Visnovsky can stay off the IR.  Travis Hamonic & Thomas Hickey will certainly play to the level we are accustomed to seeing, but we will have to see what the roles of Strait & Carkner will be on the Isles blue line.
 


On the prospect depth at defense, Arthur Staple made some notes on the training results of some top defensive prospects.  "Ville Pokka now 6-0/194 (was 5-11/200), A. Pelech 6-3/220 (was 6-2/215), R. Pulock now 6-2/212 (was 6-1/218), G. Reinhart up to 217 from 202."

 

But defense isn't the only thing being watched closely in camp.  After the success had by young guys like Strome, Lee and Nelson last season, the Isles will examine all their options throughout the summer before finalizing their 2014-15 roster.  Snow, on Josh Ho-Sang: "Probably has the most talent of anyone in that entire draft."  With all the fan fare of Dal Colle & Ho-Sang attendance, the entire group of young forwards have something to prove.  Per Daniel Friedman, "One of the more intriguing invites is Thomas Ebbing. Was the top NCAA forward on Central Scouting's midterm rankings."  S. Collberg and K. Schempp are injured, but participating in prospect camp.



Veteran players like McDonald, Boulton and even Conacher may find themselves having to work extra hard to make the line up.  And despite what has been said, don't discount a big trade possibility well into the start of the season with too many players on the current roster.  Team Management has shown a more aggressive stance this off season and have partially silenced some of their critics by their signings and drafting this summer.  Capuano has more to work with this season, so lets see if he can accomplish more with the new look Islanders.  Success will start with accurately evaluating the prospects in camp and Thursdays scrimmage.


 

Isles Notes:


Per Arthur Sttaple, "Isles have added former NHLer Marty Reasoner to player development staff. Will be working mostly with prospects in BPT."


Islanders Announce Affiliation Agreement with ECHL @StocktonThunder for Second Season.
 
 
Per Andy Graziano, "Isles beat out 4 teams for Grabo/Kulemin. One of them his agent called a 'great team'. Per Chris Johnston."


Garth Snow said Barclays played a big role in signing Grabovski and Kulemin.


Per Brian Compton, "Hearing that Frans Nielsen is not and will not be in play. Garth still has plenty of assets, though."


Isles Goaltender, Kevin Poulin filed for salary arbitration on July 5th.


Per Darren Dreger,"If Halak is as good as we've seen him be in the past then there no reason to think that Isles can't be a playoff contending team."


"I think this team will be in a position to perhaps surprise some people."


Per Chris Botta, "Wang I believe is not convinced that he's ready to completely walk away from the team, or at least as majority owner."


Per NHLFREEAGENTS, "Pierre-Marc Bouchard signed by ZUG of the NLA (Swiss) to a one year contract.
 
 

NHL Notes:

 
Pat Lafontaine is back with the NHL, rejoining the Deputy Commissioner's Office as VP of Hockey Development and Community Affairs.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2014 Free Agency, Part 2


Garth Snow made a couple of deals on Day 2 of free agency.  He signed  C Mikhail Grabovski & F Nikolai Kulemin to 4-year contracts.  Solid work by the General Manager.  Grabovski gets $20 million over 4 years & Kulemin gets $16.75 million over 4 years.  I can't wait for all the tweets about how Snow overspent for these guys after some were claiming the organization was cheap, despite big offers to unsuccessfully sign top guys yesterday.  And to happen just hours after Snow was being bashed across twitter and in the hockey media for an incomplete showing on Day 1.  Not everything needs to be done in the first day and Snow has shown in the past that he has the  patience to wait for what he wants.  A little too much patience if you ask me.  



Garth Snow was quoted as saying, "It's like fishing. You put your line in the water and you hope for some nibbles. We got two big bites today."  Both of these forwards will give the Isles more punch and they will fill out the offensive snarl quite nicely.  Arthur Staple made a good point when he said, "Both Kulemin and Grabovski played for Isles asst. Greg Cronin with the Leafs. Have to believe he pushed hard for both."  This probably had something to do with the signings.  Neither contract has no-trade clauses from what I understand.  Even better.
 

Mikhail Grabovski, C - 4yrs @ $20M
 
The 30 yr old Grabovski has scored 107g, 252 pts in 425 NHL games. He had 13g, 22a, 35 pts +/- +6 last year for Washington.  He has had 3 20+goal seasons (29g in '10-11). Last was in '11-12 per Dan Savarino.  Grabovski has represented Belarus 9 times in international play and won a gold medal in the 2004 WJC.


Nikolai Kulemin, LW - 4yrs @ $16.75M

Kulemin, age 27, scored 20 points (9 & 11) in 70 games last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He has 195 points (84 goals, 111 assists  in 421 career NHL games.  His  career best came in 2010-11, when he recorded career highs in goals (30), assists (27) and points (57) in 82 games. In International competition, Kulemin represented Russia in this years' Olympic games & won a gold medal in the 2014 WC.  In six international tournaments, he has two gold, one silver and one bronze medal.



Your New York Islanders have a much improved team and will most likely use the next few weeks to deal for their missing piece on defense.  This can be accomplished by using their surplus of veteran and prospect pieces.  Their NHL line up has the most depth it has seen in years, especially in goal.  And don't forget that with enough solid veteran presence, the BST's should be able to concentrate on developing prospects and making a push for the Calder Cup instead of playing for the Islanders.
 

 
Day 2 was better than Day 1.  I wonder what will happen on Day 3?
 


 


Isles Notes:

 
Per Anthony Stabile, "Isles are now 22nd in overall payroll after today's signings and Grabovski, Kulemin, Tavares, Bailey and Halak's deals all end at same tim


Islanders announce mini-cap roster.







Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2014 Free Agency, Part 1


Today, your New York Islanders began free agency and were looking for a veteran D with offensive upside, a top line winger & young backup goalie with 1A possibilities. 



Chad Johnson, G - 2yrs @ $2.6M

Johnson was 17-4 for the Bruins last season with a 2.15 gaa and a .925 Sv%. As a great acquisition to support Halak, Johnson have a chance to make a lot of noise in New York next season.  The Goalie Guild reports, "Connection does exist between Isles assistant goalie coach Steve Valiquette and Johnson. Both were in Rangers org in 2009-10 season."
 


 

T.J. Brennan, D - 1 Yr @ $600K

Brennan was 25 & 47 for 72 pts with a right handed shot.  A solid young defensemen with offensive abilities and a possible future top pair guy.  Brennan won the Eddie Shore Award as the outstanding defensemen in the AHL for 2013-14.



Kael Mouillierat, F - 1yr, two-way contract.

Mouillierat returns to the organization after playing 44 games in 11-12.  He had a career high, 53 points in 60 games for St. John's in the AHL last season and added 13 pts in 21 games on the way to the Calder Cup Finals.



Harry Zolnierczyk, F - 1Yr two-way contract.  $600K/$300K

Zolnierczyk had  4 goals in 16 games with the Penguins & 36 pts in 57 regular season AHL games.  He added 10 points in 17 playoff games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

 

David Leggio, G - 1 Yr two-way contract.

Leggio played 45 games (23-18-3 with a 2.63 gaa & a .913 Sv%) for the Hershey Bears and has averaged 27.8 wins in 4 full AHL seasons.  Leggio represented the United States in the 2010 & 2014 WC's.  He is a great depth signing & will most likely join Kevin Poulin in Bridgeport for next season.
 


Cory Conacher, F - 1yr @ $600K

Conacher is a fast & gritty bottom line forward who may provide depth at the forward position for the Islanders. He had 26 pts in 79 games last season.

 

Jack Skille, F - 1yr two-way contract.

Skille scored 4 goals in 16 games with Columbus & 24 pts in 22 games with Springfield of the AHL.  He has 53 pts in 194 NHL games. Skille represented Team USA at the 2011 World Championships, the 2006 and 2007 World Junior Championships and the 2004 and 2005 World Under-18 Championships.
 

###
 


Snow has shown he likes to pick up players who he feels are "hidden gem" guys.  Guys that are not elite, but can flourish if given the chance.  Those kind of moves are ok for ancillary acquisitions, but fans wanted some top tier talent for once this year.  Garth Snow made big money offers to several top tier players, including Dan Boyle whose rights were traded for a few weeks back.  Boyle elected to sign with the rival Rangers.  Vanek was down to the Islanders and Wild, but chose to go to Minnesota as rumored.  Igilna was offered a 4 year deal by New York, but signed with Colorado.  While the FA defense pool has all but dried up, the Islanders can overpay a forward that makes sense. Legwand, Grabovski, Michalek, Vrbata or even Ribiero would fit the role, especially at $6M below the cap floor.

 

While its frustrating to see more evidence of top players steering clear of Long Island, credit Snow with identifying top guys who he feels would fit team concept and going after them.  Even more responsible is not just going down a list a throwing top money and lesser players who might have name cache, but be of lesser quality.  With acquisitions at forward and a log jam at the D position, I feel Snow intends to make a trade or two, especially with many of the higher tier players getting scooped up already.  Players like Grabner, Donovan or Bailey might be pieces that the organization would move if given the right deal.  That being said, today wasn't a success in my mind, but I am hopeful of more moves over the course of the week and coming summer.  Clock is definitely ticking on Snow and the Isles.
 

 

Isles Notes:



Isles tender Qualifying Offers to Eight Players.


Calvin de Haan was not on RFA list, which leads us to believe he may have signed his QO.


Per Capgeek, Isles are still more than $6M from the floor with the lowest cap payroll in the league ($44.9M).
 
 
The Isles have announced that mini camp will begin next Tuesday and the Blue & White Scrimmage next Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.  @AndreyPedan & @AWQuine will participate in mini camp.



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Your New York Islanders 2014 Draft Day Review


On Friday, the 2014 NHL Entry Draft took place in Philadelphia, and the New York Islanders were there to make a few waves. I think they did just that.  There was a lot of talk that the Isles could trade their first round pick.  But it turns out, Garth Snow wasn't impressed with what was being offered, so he would keep the pick and acquire a quality piece to add to the already deep prospect pool.  We all know the Islanders need a wing for the top line, a top pair defensemen and a quality back up goaltender before the start of next season.  Hopefully that can be taken care of when the free agency period opens on Tuesday.



But headlines were made on Friday when Garth Snow had some spirited things to say when asked about his decisions as a GM for the Islanders.  Per Brett Cyrgalis, Snow said, "They can't shit on me any more than they already do up there (in Canada).  "I care that we win. We get the players that we feel can help us win...and we don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks."  Nice.



With their 5th selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, your New York Islanders selected Michael Dal Colle.  The 6'2 LW is best known for his maturity and well-rounded game.  Dal Colle finished last season with 95 points (39g, 56a) in 67 games. He also tallied 20 points (8g, 12a) in 12 playoff games.  Eric Hornick points out that Dal Colle wears #71 in Jr play, a number worn only by Denis Vaske and Mark Katic for the Isles.  Dal Colle made headlines off the ice prior to the draft when the NHL network featured a touching story on his brother's serious condition and his mom's recovery from breast cancer.  Dan Savarino quoted Dal Colle as saying it was a dream come true to become an Islander.  He feels he is "almost there" when asked about playing for New York.  Tavares, Okposo & Bailey all contacted Dal Colle soon after being drafted to welcome him to the organization.

 

 
It turns out that Garth Snow wasn't done yet.  He sent the Isles #35 & 57th selection to Tampa Bay for their #28th pick to select Josh Ho Sang late in the first round.  Josh Ho-Sang has been called a top 5 player in talent, who lost ground in the rankings due to uncertainty of his commitment, focus and attitude as a hockey player.  After being questioned on selecting Ho Sang despite these reservations, Snow said that he (Ho Sang) would fit right in and that they (NHL Media) shit on him (Snow as a player) too.  I love it.  Clearly, Snow said Ho Sang was worth the risk.  He is probably correct in his assumption because Ho Sang has what has been called, "Immense talent" as a hockey player. Ho Sang said, "I'll give them everything I have, I'll push until I can't breathe," on his commitment to the Islanders for taking a chance on him.  On Instagram, he said, "So crazy blessed for the opportunities I have been given. So proud to be a New York Islander. I want to thank everyone who has been apart of my journey big or small, #justthebegining #grateful."  The talented RW/C tallied 85 points (32g, 53a) in 67 games last season with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL.
 

 

On day #2, the Isles started the day by trading their #65 selection to Florida for their 3rd round pick in 2015.


At the 78th selection, the Isles took Russian goaltender, Ilya Sorokin from Metallurg Novokuznetsk.  A big positive is that the 18 year old Sorokin already has 40 games of pro experience from his play in the KHL.  He posted a .911 SV% and 2.90 GAA in 27 games this past season.
 



With the 95th selection, the Isles added goaltender, Linus Soderstrom from Djurgarden of the Swedish Jr. League.  Soderstrom posted a .915 SV% and 2.61 GAA with Djurgarden's U-20 team this past season.  At 6'4,  he seems like a viable replacement for what the organization had in mind when they drafted former Islander, Anders Nilsson.  Soderstrom said, "(I am) so proud to get drafted by the New York Islanders.  Extremely excited for the future!" 
 
Bill Both stated, "FYI Soderstrom is under contract for 2 more seasons & Sorokin for 3 more years."
 



At pick #108, The Islanders select defensemen, Devon Toews of Quinnipiac U.  Toews tallied one goal and 16 assists in 37 games for the QU Bobcats this past season.  Toews is not related to NHL player, Jonathan Toews.



With the 155th overall pick, the Isles select forward, Kyle Schempp from Ferris Sate University.  Schempp was good for 25 points (10g, 15a) in 43 games during this past season at Ferris State.  Schempp said it was "Unbelievable feeling being drafted by the New York Islanders. Can't wait to see what the future holds w/ a great organization & city."  He added that it was humbling and a great honor.

 

Then the Isles traded the 185th pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 200th pick, as well as the Lightning's 7th round pick in 2015.



With the 200th overall pick, the Islanders selected forward Lukas Sutter from the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL.  Sutter, Rich's son and Darryl's nephew, was drafted by WPG in 2012 but did not sign & re entered the draft this year only to be chosen later by the Isles.  This is similar to Kichton not signing with the Isles, re entering the draft and being selected later by WPG.
 
 
 
 

I thought the players the Isles added were good choices.  I am thrilled with Dal Colle & Ho Sang.  Dal Colle was the choice of most Isles fans I heard from on who they wanted if the Islanders used the #5 selection.  He is a complete player who has over come a lot of personal adversity to continue his hockey career.  Character (and skill) is something a team can never have too much of.  And much like when he traded up to draft de Haan in 2009 with Tavares, Snow made a move to acquire another highly skilled player in the first round with Ho Sang.  While some are comparing it to the move for Kabanov, I think the Ho Sang situation is different. Although Kabanov seemed to improve in attitude and get better as a player, he never seemed able to impress Management and prove he was ready.  Ho Sang has said all the right things and seems to have a chip on his shoulder to prove the other 29 teams wrong for not taking him. 
 
 
 
In addition, they added two highly respected goaltending prospects to the system for the future and some other valuable assets were garnered in later rounds.  Especially Lukas Sutter, who was originally a 2nd round, 39th overall pick of the Jets in 2012.  Snow has made some mistakes, but after inheriting a pretty sparse product from Milbury, has made some strong additions to this team despite limitations of draw and budget.  But there is a lot of room for improvement and I think this off-season could be different.  After signing Halak and going for Boyle, Islander fans can expect Snow to continue to be aggressive on July 1st, and hopefully add a few more crucial pieces to what could be one of the best line ups we have seen in quite a while to suit up in Uniondale.


 

NHL Notes:
 

The NHL salary cap for 2014-15 is $69 million.  A lower number than projected, while the floor is $51 million.

 
My thoughts are with Gino Odjick and his family during this difficult time.