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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vacation in July


Vacation

I am somewhat sorry to say I will be on vacation from Friday, 7/1 until Sunday, 7/10.  Well, sorry that it’s the same time as the free agency period but thrilled about vacation.  I will be checking in from time to time, but will not have Internet access unless I get lucky.

I will check back in as soon as I can.  In the meantime, lets go Islanders.

Joe

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Christian Ehrhoff, Round 2 and Free Agency


Update:  Christian Ehrhoff signs with the Buffalo Sabres.  Wow.

@TSNBobMcKenzie Bob McKenzie
Now confirmed: Ehrhoff's deal with BUF is 10 years, $40 million, broken down as follows:

Year 1: $8M signing bonus, $2M salary; Year 2: $5M SB, $3M sal. That's $18M in 1st 2 yrs, or $15M before puck drops on 12-13 season.
Year 3: $4M; Year 4: $4M, Year 5: $4M; Year 6: $4M; Year 7: $3M; Year 8; $1M; Year 9: $1M, Year 10: $1M. Modified NTC. Cap hit=$4M/yr. #tsn

The New York Islanders had acquired the rights to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff for a 2012, 4th round pick and re-traded them to the Buffalo Sabres today for a 4th round pick.
Katie Strang of Newsday reports that “the Islanders offered CE significantly more (in $ and term) than Vancouver reportedly offered (5-yr, $23 M) and set a 5 pm deadline; he declined.”  After the Vancouver Canucks defensemen rejected the Canucks initial deal and the Islanders offer, reported to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 million per season, Garth Snow acted quickly.  Snow turned the remaining negotiating rights over to the Sabres, getting compensation of possibly equal value in return in the form of their 4th round, 2012 selection.  The move was an attempt to get a top rated Defensemen signed before he became an unrestricted UFA on July 1st.

The great Peter Botte, author of “Fishsticks, the fall and rise of the New York Islanders,” makes a good point.  Isles currently are at $36.6m in cap payroll, nearly $12m under cap floor. That's today's definition of Imperative.”  Despite several of the top players already off the market, it still leaves the Islanders in a good spot.  They have options to make offers or trades for top players who they think fit the mold in this young, up and coming eastern team.  Or, if there arent any bites, reel it in and continue to develop their young talent.  During this time, they could continue to watch for waiver pick ups of propose a trade or two.

I look forward to the ride over the next few days and continue to gain respect for Snow.  He has demonstrated, especially lately that he is in touch with how to build a modern hockey team in today’s NHL.  Bring on July 1st.




Also, be sure to read Chris Botta’s take on why Erhoff’s rejection might be a good thing.  http://tinyurl.com/435f8wu

Update:  Dwayne Roloson signed a one-year, $3 million contract Wednesday to stay in Tampa Bay, according to various reports. Roloson would have been an unrestricted free agent Friday.

Islanders aquire rights to Christian Ehrhoff

Update:  @KatieStrangNYI Katie Strang - Talks broke down between #Isles and Christian Ehrhoff; email sent out from #Isles end to other teams.
The New York Islanders acquired the rights to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff for a 2012 4th round pick. 
The Vancouver Canucks defensemen had 14 and 36 for 50 points with a +14 rating last season.  In 23 playoff games, Ehrhoff was 2 and 10 for 12 points.  Ehrhoff totaled 28 and 66 for 94 points in 159 games with Vancouver.  The 6’2, 203 pound defenseman was a San Jose Shark’s fourth round draft pick and was chosen 106th overall and scored 132 points.  Erhoff has represented his native Germany in the past two winter Olympic contests. 

Garth Snow is optimistic that he could hear from Ehrhoff's camp as early as today on his decision to play for Long Island.  Michael Grabner has tweeted the following, @grabs40 Michael Grabner - "For all the people asking- I already talked to Ehrhoff. told him its great on long island,tried my best...rest is up to him people."  Give Garth Snow credit for a great effort here, regardless of the outcome.



Soundtigers get their new Head Coach


The New York Islanders named Brent Thompson Head Coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Thompson coached the Alaska Aces in the ECHL for two seasons.  He led the Aces to a league-best 47-22-0-3 record, good enough to win a second Kelly Cup in the history of the team and a John Brophy Award for ECHL Coach of the Year. 


Monday, June 27, 2011

My KoC 2011 Free Agency Wish List

UFA’s …

Update:  Brian Compton - NHL.com - Brooks Laich will not be on the market Friday. Signs 6-year, $27 million extension with Washington.

Brooks Laich - Washington Capitals  82 games 16 goals 32 assists 48 points +14   2,067,000 vs. last years cap

Having heard his name for most of the season as a good fit for the Isles from Brian Compton, I have seen why.  Brooks Laich has toughness, grit and is well respected by teammates.  His age range and character would make him an ideal fit for the Islanders, and will probably just get better from there.

Tyler Kennedy - Pittsburg Penguins  80 games  21 goals  24 assists  45 points  +1  725,000 vs. last years cap

I cant believe Pittsburg passed on a qualifying offer, but it could have something to do with an abundance of big names.  I would imagine talks to sign him will continue until deadline.  I would love the chance to see him play for New York.  Kennedy is most commonly known among the Pittsburg fan base for his high energy play, making big hits and going hard along the boards. scoring unlikely goals have also been a part of his skill set.  A great asset if not priced out of reach.





Joel Ward - Nashville Predators  80 games  10 goals  19 assists 29 points  -1   1.500.000 vs. last years cap

Talk about a great time for a UFA status, how about after a great season and the best post season of your career to get you noticed.  Chris Botta’s choice for a key Isles acquisition, Ward has a pro islander agent and had a famed roller hockey career on Long Island

Ville Leino - Philadelphia Flyers  81 games  19 goals  34 assists  53 points  +14  269,000 vs. last years cap

At 27 years old, Leino is due for a big raise.  He was money for the Flyers in their playoff runs with 7 and14 for 21 points in 19 playoff games. He has the character that management in looking for and the experience to share with some new teammates on Long Island, if the price is right.

Radim Vrbata - Phoenix Coyotes  79 games  19 goals  29 assists  48 points  +5  3,000,000 vs. last years cap

Vrbata has tremendous hands and hockey vision. He plays in a system well and often finds a way to initiate offensive chances. 


Unlikely RFA’s, but …


Steven Stamkos - TB Lightning  82 games  45 goals  46 assists  91 points  +3  3,725,000 vs. last years cap

How great would it be?  I know, unlikely, but Stamkos would make the Islanders an instant playoff team.

Shea Weber - Nashville Predators  82 games  16 goals  32 assists  48 points  +7  4,500,000 vs. last years cap

A tenacious leader who demands what he offers.  Weber’s grit and spirit would complement the Islanders and strengthen a toughening blue line in all the right ways.



Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 Qualifying Offers or not?

Update:  Per Katie Strang, Dustin Kohn was not given a QO by the Islanders as well.

The Islanders sent qualifying offers to 6 players on their roster, but not 7.  The rights to six of their restricted free agents: Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, Jesse Joensuu , Micheal Haley, Dylan Reese and Ty Wishart will be retained.  The odd man out in this group is Jack Hillen.  Hillen was signed by the Islanders as an undrafted player out of Colorado College in time to play the last few games on the 2007-08 season vs. the Rangers where he recorded an assist. 

At times, Hillen has looked brilliant on the Islander blue line, but with healthy depth, the organization has to make difficult choices.  If an offer is not made to him by Monday, Hillen may find himself entering next weekend as an unrestricted free agent and playing elsewhere next season much like Bruno Gervais.  If that is the case, I wish him luck.

 


Saturday, June 25, 2011

With this pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders select ...

1st round, 5th overall: C  Ryan Strome

At 6-0, 177 pounds, Strome finished last season with 33 and 63 for 106, playing for the Niagara IceDogs, ranking him third in the Ontario Hockey League with an average 1.63 points per game. As written on the Islanders’ website He told Versus after being selected: "I love the colors and I think I'll fit in great there,'' Strome said. "I couldn't be happier right now,” and for good measure, as a real Long Islander, he added, “Vote yes on August 1st.”  He intends to make it a difficult choice for coaches at Islanders camp this fall.



2nd round, 34th overall: D Scott Mayfield

At 6-4, 200 pounds, Mayfield led all Youngstown defensemen in scoring with 7 and 9 for 16 points in 52. He will play at the University of Denver in the fall of 2011.  Playing two seasons in the USHL, Mayfield was a member of the U.S. gold medal winning team at the 2010 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge.  In addition, he was recognized as tournament MVP and made the first all-star team.  His game is that of a solid stay-at-home defenseman

2nd round, 50th overall: C Johan Sundstrom

At 6-2, 200 pounds, Sundstrom was a rookie last season with Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League finishing with 1 and 0 for 1 point. He also played for his country at the 2011 Under-20 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, NY.  His style is that of a playmaking center.  A solid player for the 50th pick.

3rd round, 63rd overall: D Andrei Pedan

At 6-4, 200 pounds, Pedan finished his rookie campaign in the Ontario Hockey League last season with 7 and 9 for 16pts in 52 games, adding eight assists in six games during the 2011 OHL Playoffs.  He is probably one of the best values taken at this seasons entry draft.  He plays a tough physical defensive style.

4th round, 94th overall: D Robbie Russo – 6-0, 190 pounds,

At 6-0, 190 pounds, Russo has played for the United States development team of the USHL for the past two seasons scoring 3 and 23 for 26 points in 58 games. Russo helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2010 World Under-17 Challenge. He is known for his vision and is considered a puck-moving defenseman

5th round, 125th overall: LW Johan Persson

At 6-2, 200 pounds, Persson led the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL with 33 goals and was ranked fourth on the team with 61 points during his second season. He also recorded 2 and 3 for 5 points in nine 2011 playoff games for Red Deer Persson is a pure goal scorer.  

5th round, 127th overall: D Brenden Kichton

At 5-10, 175 pounds, Kichton played for the Spokane Chiefs scoring an impressive 23 and 58 for 81 points in 64.  he finished  third on his team in scoring and first amongst defensemen. Kichton added and 10 for 11 points in 17 WHL playoff games.  He is a goal scoring defensemen with hockey smarts.
 
7th round, 184th overall: LW Mitchell Theoret

At 6,1, 210 pounds, Theoret, played for the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL.  He scored 11 and 17 for 28 points in 119 games.  It is speculated that his offensive numbers would have been much better if given more minutes.  A low risk project that the Islanders have had success building in their system.

 




Islanders’ note:  Bruno Gervais was traded to Tampa Bay for future considerations.  He may join former Islanders assistant coach Daniel Lacroix, Nate Thompson, Sean Bergenheim, Marc-AndrĂ© Bergeron and Dwane Roloson.  I wonder how he might do?  Good luck Bruno, but it looks like you landed on the right team.


The Draft Party and the New York Islanders

On Friday, I made my way to the Coliseum to see some people I know from the Islander Mania website for a pre-draft party … party..  They are a great bunch of people.  Each year, we make it a point to gather, eat and share stories about our common long-suffering dependency. 

Of being a fanatical Islanders’ fan.

After spending some time outside, wandering the grounds and getting a few autographs on my new KoC jersey from class acts like the Trevor Gillies, Travis Hamonic, Matt Martin, Kevin Poulin and Michael Haley, I was ready to renew my draft party experience.  The Islanders always throw a great gathering and have a lot of fun things for the fans to do until the draft starts.  Oh yeah, I also was lucky enough to get my jersey signed by Butch Goring and Bobby Nystrom as well.  A thrill for me since this was the first time I ever asked anyone for an autograph, and I got 7.



Fans were able to sign petitions and join the Isles’ booster club and take part in a myriad of games and activities.  I finally waited on line to check out the locker room and take in the atmosphere and mystique of the wall plaques and imagine all the moments that happened in there.  The teachings of Al Arbour, the challenges issued by teammates and the moments that built a dynasty that turned a group of men into a four-time champion.

What it also reminded me of was the present.  More importantly, the group of players assembled by Garth Snow look like they have shown what will be.  If the room stays together and continues to be tempered in the forge of experience, I may be able to feel like I did when I was younger.  For the first time since 92-93, I have a group of players to watch that I not only have gotten to like and cheer for, but with each new added piece, feel like being good wont just be something to I need to settle for.  I think they will continue to take the next step and reward Charles Wang for all the patience and resources given to build a winner on Long Island again.

If you need a reminder to vote on August 1st, look to the past to see the future of the New York Islanders.  With players like this, is there any doubt that they want to win here.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Weight is King

Congratulations to Doug Weight for winning the 2011 King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

The trophy is presented annually to the player who “best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”  Despite his injuries this season, Weight’s leadership and presence were still evident on game day and in practice with the team.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Full Disclosure

The Islanders and their supporters want a “Yes” vote on the new arena proposal scheduled for August 1st in Nassau County to retain Long Island's only professional sports team.  A Yes means that the Islanders stay where they are until 2045 and Long Island will have its own premiere sports complex to view Sporting contests, Concerts and Events beyond the end of the Isles lease in 2015.  Today at 11 a.m., Islanders Management and County Officials held a press conference to offer full disclosure on the plans for a new arena and development on the site of the Nassau Coliseum.

Brian Compton of NHL.com reported that an Independent economist, hired to look over the plan, projects arena would generate $1.2 billion and Newsday is reporting that the Islanders Organization will have paid Nassau County and its tax payers $420 million in profits by 2045.  About this, Mangano added, "This is a true public/private partnership that our economic experts say will more than pay for the debt services."  He went on to say that "Every pretzel, every hot dog, ticket, the taxpayers of Nassau County will receive a share of the revenue...”

Mangano reminded those gathered that Nassau has raised property tax 42% over last 10 years without any new investment or sources of income.  Nassau County is in need of an economic plan to build for the future, an investment in themselves and their community.  "There is a very transparent public process here." The public has every opportunity to be involved with this process.  A process of revenue sharing that would benefit and sustain both the Islanders and the County.  The more the County supports the Islanders, the more they will invest into themselves.  Due to the $14M annual rent payment made by the Islanders in the agreement, even in the worst possible scenario, the money is guaranteed to be paid to Nassau County.

Islanders’ Owner, Charles Wang, stated that money spent by the 2 Million people who visit The Coliseum annually "drives jobs not only at the arena but at businesses across LI."  Wang went on to say, "the economy is not going to fix itself. We have to make decisions on opportunities that can be a catalyst for improving our lives...”  Wang concluded with, "this is not just about me, it's about my kids and our kids future" and "We can not continue to let this go. We need this and we deserve this.”




http://islanders.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=566637

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Islander notes from June 2011

On June 20, 2011, Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin, former Isles head and assistant coaches were added to Brian Burke’s Toronto Mapleleaf’s coaching staff as assistants to head coach Ron Wilson.  Scott Gordon was head coach of the Islanders from 2008 until 2010.  Gordon has served under Brian Burke and Ron Wilson as a assistant coach for team USA hockey since 2009 with some success, including an Olympic silver medal in 2010.  Greg Cronin was an assistant coach for the Islanders for 5 seasons and head coach of the Soundtigers for 2 seasons in the AHL going 78-61-16-5.  Cronin was recently the head coach for the Northeastern Huskies men's hockey team.  On February 18, 2011, Northeastern announced Cronin would be suspended indefinitely due to possible recruitment violations.


Chris Botta reported that the New York Islanders would not make an offer to career Islander, Radek Martinek on a new contract.  A solid stay at home defensemen, Martinek’s stay on long Island though solid, was marred with injuries, costing him several man games per season, which seemed to multiply in recent seasons.  Martinek will be open to offers from all 30 teams as a UFA on July 1st.


TSN.ca is reporting that the NHL Salary Cap is rising from last seasons $59.4 million dollar limit.  The increase is reported to be $4.6 million, so the cap will raise to $64 million for this season.  The Cap floor would increase in similar fashion going from $43.4 million from $48 million.  This could be seen as good news to Islander fans.  Management will now have to raise the salary level of the team and could potentially commit more money towards putting a winning product on the ice.  This is not to say that Charles Wang was ever against spending money for the Islanders to be more successful, quite the contrary.  Garth Snow has been quoted on several occasions with saying he had a green light to spend money if the right deal could be made to improve the team.  Now, there will just be more flexability to do just that and possible attract more proven free agents to the Island.  With last years surge and a new Arena vote looming, this summer could continue as an exciting and viable one for the Islander’s Organization.  Top free agents will be needed to complete the rebuild and allow the Islanders to take the next step into the playoffs and beyond.

A press conference has been scheduled at the Nassau Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum for tomorrow at 11 am to discuss the financial details of the new Arena proposal.  Updates will be posted, as they are made available to me.


KoC 2011 NHL Entry Draft Preview

When it comes to the NHL Entry Draft, you can do all the “homework” you want and still miss the mark quite a few times.  The fact is, one can’t truly anticipate trades, last minute deals for moving up or down or packaging picks for an end result to be named later.

What I can say is that the Islanders look pretty good at the 5th spot with this crop of quality players.  The 4th spot looked better, but New Jersey and their 3.6% chance won the lottery, so 5th it is.  Watching the rebuild over the last few years has taught me Garth Snow is capable of an in or out of the box approach.  He seems to be very big on scouting and compliments chosen prospects with meetings on Long Island to gauge the character and fit of the players involved.  Snow has stayed solid or moved back a few times to gather picks, and bet the prospect he wants will still be there. 

Earlier, I guessed the Isles might go for Adam Larrsson when their 21 game winless streak assured me they would finish with a bottom two pick.  He would be my first choice.  However, they somewhat righted the ship and made some solid strides at improving as a team, thereby lowering their pick to the 4, I mean 5 spot.  Then I figured, they might go for a Sean Couturier or Jonathan Huberdeau, and they still may, if they are available.

Gabriel Landeskog is a solid winger and I think he may become an Islander if he is still available.  Touted as “the most NHL ready,” of his peers, Landeskog has excelled at the mental part of the game and has potential to be a talented goal scorer in the NHL someday.  My long shots in a trade down scenario are Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome.  Zibanejad has been scouted as a complete offensive player with a heavy shot who likes to play a physical game.  Strome has been touted as the player to watch in this years draft mainly due to his consistency and recent jump in effectiveness over one OHL season finishing first in scoring with 1.63 points per game.
 
But as Brian Compton of NHL.com and IPB tv has pointed out, scoring was not really the problem last season.  Now you always would like more scoring, but it is said that a solid defense wins championships.  Chris Botta is reporting Dougie Hamilton has made more trips back with Isles brass than any other prospect, so they may very well be thinking defensively.  Ryan Murphy would fit the bill as well.  He is known for a scorers' touch in addition to an ability to play a tight defensive game.



Top 10 Rankings per TSN.ca

North American Skaters

Rank
Name
League
Birthdate
Height
Weight
Pos
GP
G
A
P
PIM
1
NUGENT-HOPKINS, RYAN
WHL
04/12/93
6' 0.5"
164
C
69
31
75
106
51
2
LANDESKOG, GABRIEL
OHL
11/23/92
6' 0.5"
207
LW
53
36
30
66
61
3
HUBERDEAU, JONATHAN
QMJHL
06/04/93
6' 1.25"
170
C
67
43
62
105
88
4
HAMILTON, DOUGIE
OHL
06/17/93
6' 4.25"
187
D
67
12
46
58
77
5
BEAULIEU, NATHAN
QMJHL
12/05/92
6' 1.75"
174
D
65
12
33
45
52
6
COUTURIER, SEAN
QMJHL
12/07/92
6' 4"
197
C
58
36
60
96
36
7
BAERTSCHI, SVEN
WHL
10/05/92
5' 10"
181
LW
66
34
51
85
74
8
STROME, RYAN
OHL
07/11/93
6' 0"
175
C
65
33
73
106
82
9
MURPHY, RYAN
OHL
03/31/93
5' 10.5"
166
D
63
26
53
79
36
10
SIEMENS, DUNCAN
WHL
09/07/93
6' 2.5"
192
D
72
5
38
43
121

European Skaters

Rank
Name
Country
Birthdate
Height
Weight
Pos
GP
G
A
P
PIM
1
LARSSON, ADAM
SWEDEN
11/12/92
6' 3"
200
D
37
1
8
9
41
2
ZIBANEJAD, MIKA
SWEDEN
04/18/93
6' 1.5"
191
C
26
5
4
9
2
3
BRODIN, JONAS
SWEDEN
07/12/93
6' 1"
169
D
42
0
4
4
12
4
ARMIA, JOEL
FINLAND
05/31/93
6' 3"
191
RW
48
18
11
29
24
5
JASKIN, DMITRI
CZREP
03/23/93
6' 1"
196
RW
33
3
7
10
16
6
KLEFBOM, OSCAR
SWEDEN
07/20/93
6' 3.5"
200
D
23
1
1
2
2
7
SALOMAKI, MIIKKA
FINLAND
03/09/93
5' 11"
198
RW
40
4
6
10
53
8
NERMARK, JOACHIM
SWE-JR.
05/12/93
6' 1"
187
C
37
8
18
26
16
9
GRANLUND, MARKUS
FINLAND-JR.
04/16/93
5' 10"
169
C
40
20
32
52
49
10
BENGTSSON, RASMUS
SWEDEN-2
05/14/93
6' 2.5"
189
D
45
2
7
9
6