Friday, May 30, 2014

Botta: Bettman Optimistic A Sale Decision Will Come By The Start of the Season

According to Chris Botta, when he asked NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman if he was optimistic Wang would make a decision by the start of the 2014/2015 season on if he would sell, the Commissioner responded with a with a smile that, "I'm optimistic that Charles will make a decision by then."

Now, I might be reading to much into it but to me that sounds like a subtle way of saying he thinks a sale will get done.

Additionally, according to the article, Barroway reportedly wants and is willing to pay the money for experienced executives.  This would coincide with what was reported last month by Larry Brooks in the New York Post regarding Barroway courting Brendan Shannahan to come aboard the Islanders before he accepted a position in Toronto.

That would be a welcomed change from Wang who does just the opposite of this.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Islanders Sign Ville Pokka To 3 Year ELC

According to various reports, the Islanders have signed 2012 second round pick Ville Pokka to a 3 year entry level contract.  Pokka has been one of the most talked about Islanders prospects not to be under a contract yet with his play over seas.

With the deadline to sign him rapidly approaching, some fans began to get nervous that they might not get the contract done and potentially have Pokka burn the team similar to Brenden Kichton.  Kichton who was a 5th round pick by the Islanders in the 2011 draft was unable to be signed before his deadline last year and ended up getting redrafted by the Jets in last years draft. 

In 54 games this past season Pokka put up 27 points and a + 32 +/- rating setting career highs in both of those categories.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Anders Nilsson Is Off To The KHL

photo by hockeysfuture

According to reports, as had been speculated for a couple weeks now, Islanders goalie Anders Nilsson officially signed a deal in the KHL today.  Nilsson, a RFA was seeking a one way contract from the Islanders and that made his future here murky especially with the acquisition of Jaroslav Halak made official last week.

In 19 games last season for the Islanders, Nilsson had a 3.11 GAA and a .896 save percentage.

Although it is possible, I think we have seen Anders Nilsson in an Islanders sweater for the last time.

Reinhart/Oil Kings Take Home Memorial Cup

photo by USAToday

Earlier this evening, Islanders top defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart and his team the Edmonton Oil Kings took home the Memorial Cup.  The Memorial Cup is the highest prize in Canadian Junior Hockey.  The Oil Kings defeated the Guelph Storm by a score of 6-3 to win the Cup.

In the playoffs, Reinhart had 13 points in 21 games played and was a defensive stalwart as captain on the back line for Edmonton.  Although he did face some criticism at times, he didn't let the phase him and continued to play his game.  This is the best way for him to end his junior career as he transitions to the pro game next season with either the Islanders or the Sound Tigers.

We here at savetheisles would like to congratulate Reinhart and his teammates on their victory.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Islander Fans React To Halak Signing

Islanders Sign Halak To 4 Year Deal

photo by ingoalmag

According to numerous reports, the Islanders announced that they signed goalie Jaroslav Halak to a 4 year deal worth 18 million dollars.

The Islanders acquired Halak's rights from the Capitals on May 1st in exchange for a 4th round pick in this years draft.

The combination of Evgeni Nabokov, Anders Nilsson, and Kevin Poulin left the Islanders with among the worst goalie stats in the entire NHL last season.  The addition of Halak will go a long way in fixing that ailment of the team.

Last season, in 52 games split between the St Louis Blues and the Washington Capitals Halak had a 2.25 GAA and a .921 save percentage.  Those numbers will provide a huge upgrade for the Islanders in net as they look to make the playoffs in their final season at Nassau Coliseum before moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Well, color me impressed.  I didn't think the Islanders would be able to close the deal with Halak and would end up needing to trade him much like the Christian Ehrhoff case a couple years ago.  This needs to be just the first step of a busy summer for Garth Snow and the Islanders front office if they hope to improve on last years disappointing season.

Isles To Retain 2014 First Round Pick

What had been speculated about for months was officially announced today as the Islanders confirmed that they will be keeping this years first round pick and sending Buffalo the teams first round pick next year to complete the Thomas Vanek trade.

This had been a talking point for a while due to the strength of next seasons draft if the team should part with this years first round pick to make sure they keep their pick next season.

I'm a little in between on this because I saw it from both sides.  Although I wouldn't have been against sending this years pick to Buffalo and keeping next seasons I can understand why they didn't.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Botta: Barroway Has Financing Lined Up To Buy Islanders

According to Chris Botta, Andrew Barroway has the necessary financing and all the investors needed lined up to purchase the Islanders.  The purchase price is said to be 400 million dollars.  It is now up to Charles Wang if he wants to walk away from the team or not.

It was reported the other day that Barroway and Wang had a verbal understanding over sale price.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ex Islander Konopka Suspended For Banned Substance

According to reports, ex Islander enforcer Zenon Konopka has been suspended 20 games without pay for violating the NHL's performance enhancing program.

Konopka said he ingested something that included the substance but refused to identify what it was.  He made sure to stress that this substance was not taken in an attempt to enhance his abilities.  Konopka is set to be a UFA on July 1st so he would serve the suspension part of his new team.

Very surprising to hear this in the NHL as the only other player to be suspended under this policy was Islanders defenseman Sean Hill in 2007.  Although he wasn't a great player, Konopka in his time with the Islanders a couple years ago became a fan favorite and with good reason.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Botta: Wang/Barroway Have An Agreement On Sale Price

According to Chris Botta, Andrew Barroway and Charles Wang have a verbal agreement with each other over the sale price of the Islanders.  Botta says from what he understands to not be surprised if the amount exceeds 400 million dollars.

While more still needs to happen this is certainly a big step forward in terms of this getting done.  

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Matt Donovan

photo by nypost

Also celebrating a birthday today is Islanders defenseman Matt Donovan.  Donovan is turning 24.

After 2 very successful season in Bridgeport including inclusion in the AHL all star game one season, Matt Donovan finally made it to the NHL this past year.  The season was a very up and down one for the young defenseman as they are for most young defensemen.  Donovan certainly had some high points to the season including scoring his first NHL goal, but he had some low points to including being sent back to Bridgeport for a period of time.  

We here at savetheisles would like to wish Donovan a very Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Calvin de Haan

photo by zimbio

Today, Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan is celebrating is 23rd birthday.

After being selected 12th overall by the Islanders in 2009 de Haan struggled to progress in his development because of a multitude of injuries.  In 76 games spread out over 3 seasons with Bridgeport, de Haan put up 21 points.  This season, de Haan finally overcame his injuries and made it to the NHL level.  When he made it here he wanted to make sure he never went back to the AHL as de Haan performed better then anyone could've ever expected of him cementing himself in the Islanders top 4 defensively often playing on the top pair alongside Travis Hamonic.  Going forward, if he is able to stay healthy and build off this season the future is looking awfully bright for John Tavares former juniors teammate.

We here at savetheisles would like to wish de Haan a very Happy Birthday.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Brent Thompson Returning To Bridgeport

According to Newsday, Islanders assistant coach Brent Thompson will be returning to Bridgeport this season as the head coach of the Sound Tigers.  Scott Pellerin who was the Bridgeport coach this season has left the organization.
Thompson served as the head coach of the Sound Tigers in the 11/12 season leading them to the playoffs and a division title before losing in the first round to the rival Whale.  Following that season, Thompson was named an assistant coach with the Islanders.

Arthur Staple from Newsday believes Thompsons replacement in the NHL will be someone who has experience coaching defense.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fans/Media React To Halak Deal

Islanders Acquire Halak From Capitals

photo by ESPN

Update: According to the New York Post, Halak is looking for a 3-5 year contract for 4 million per season.  If this is the case, that is very reasonable given that he is coming off a 4 year 15 million dollar contract and provides zero reason for me at least as to why this shouldn't get done and soon at that.

In a surprising move, today the Islanders acquired UFA to be goalie Jaroslav Halak from the Capitals in exchange for the fourth round pick in this years draft the team acquired from the Blackhawks earlier this season in exchange for Peter Regin and Pierre Marc Bouchard.

Last season, in 52 games split between the Capitals and the Blues Halak had a 2.25 GAA and a .921 save percentage.  That is quite different from the Islanders stats which were the worst in the entire league.  Halak has a career save percentage of .918 and a career GAA of 2.40 which are considered slightly above average numbers in my eyes at least.

The agent for Halak, the ever outspoken Allan Walsh told Newsday that they would absolutely consider signing here long term.  "Absolutely.  The Islanders are uniquely situated -- they have some very good young players on their roster and some more good young players coming up.  They took a step back this season, but I think it's just temporary.  Why wouldn't we be interested in talking?"  Walsh told Newsday.

Well, to say this caught me by surprise would be quite the understatement.  While Halak wasn't my first choice, I am not disappointed with this in the slightest.  Now Garth has to close the deal and sign him and cross one major step off his summer checklist and move on to other pressing needs.