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

Saturday, July 1, 2017

New York Islanders Off-Season: Open to Free Agency

Our New York Islanders entered Day 1 of free agency with rumors that they would do very little surfacing across the internet. John Tavares is taking his time to re-sign with New York and fans were anxious from the Noon lift off, waiting for an announcement. Per Chris Botta, “John Tavares wants to commit long-term to the Islanders. He'd like to have an idea of where the team will be playing. Seems fair.” We had no news on JT’s renewed commitment, but we had a few minor, depth moves and prospect signings on the day.

The New York Islanders acquired G, Kristers Gudlevskis from the TBL for F, Carter Verhaeghe (acquired in Grabner deal).

6’3, 218# Kristers Gudlevskis posted a 15-10-7-4 record last season for the AHL Crunch, with a 2.65 gaa and a .897 save percentage in 37 games. Gudlevskis has played internationally for his native Latvia (gold medal in 2011), was named to the 2015-16 AHL All-Star game and appeared in one National Hockey League game last season with the Lightning, 1-0-1 overall in the NHL, with a 1.37 gaa and a .959 SV%. He is said to be an athletic prospect who still needs to refine his top-level game, once very high on the TB prospect chart, but struggled lately and seemingly frustrated with his chances in the Lightning organization. Rumors had him considering to play in Russia next season.

Islanders have agreed to terms with D, Seth Helgeson on a one-year, two-way contract.

6’4, 210# Seth Helgeson, 26, had a goal and 3 assists and a +1 rating with the NHL Devils in 50 games over the last 3 seasons. He has been up and down from Albany since the 2014-15 season. He is a big, physical stay-at-home defenseman whose puck skills have improved over the last few years, primarily as a passer and set up man.

Islanders have re-signed D, Kane Lafranchise to a one-year, two-way deal.

6’1, 200# D, Kane Lafranchise has been a steady, two-way defenseman for Bridgeport over last two seasons. The +17 Lafranchise, 29, had career highs in goals (5), points (21) and tied a career-best 16 assists in his first full season (67 games played) with the Sound Tigers in 2016-17.

Islanders sign C Scott Eansor to a 1 year, AHL deal. Played with Barzal at Seattle (WHL).

5’9, 174# C, LW, Scott Eansor was a team mate with Mathew Barzal in Seattle of the WHL, totaling 18 & 20 for 38 points in 40 games last season while serving as co-Captain and winning a WHL title. The 21 yr old Eansor showed his stuff (2 goals) in the Islanders Blue & White scrimmage on Thursday, and also played for the USA U20 team in 2015-16, helping Team USA secure a bronze medal.

Any more Day 1 updates will be added here.

Not to discount contributions by the Nelson’s, Lee’s and Bailey’s from last season, but the Devils & Rangers have both outpaced Islanders so far, since the NHL Draft. Ho-Sang, Barzal & Pulock aside, Eberle can’t be the only major move. I hope.

On the other hand, The more you see these deals and the term involved, the more you get the GM not pulling the trigger despite needing to get better.

It’s far from over and there is still time, but news of the Tavares extension would do a lot for everyone's sanity.

Isles Notes:

Per @incarceratedbob, “Source: Buzz in Islanders ORG that Russian G prospect Ilya Sorokin will not come over to play for #Isles #KHL after 2018.”

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