Monday, June 30, 2014

Islanders Still In The Mix For Dan Boyle?

According to Katie Strang, the Islanders are among 5 teams that still remain a possible destination for Dan Boyle once free agency starts tomorrow.
Boyle was said to be very interested in the Islanders pitch and such but at his age he had never reached unrestricted free agency before and wanted to see what it was like but never closed the door on returning to the team.

This is conflicting to what was reported by Darren Dreger from TSN this morning as he didn't have the Islanders anywhere in what he called Boyles believed potential top 5.
While Boyle wouldn't be my first choice, he would be a solid pickup for the Islanders.  Although, if what Darren Dreger is saying is true I would be very surprised if Boyle ended up on Long Island.

Isles Qualify 8 & Release 3

According to Newsday, the Islanders sent qualifying offers to 8 of their restricted free agents including Calvin de Haan and Casey Cizikas.  If you recall a couple days ago reports came out that Anders Lee had signed his qualifying offer.

While they retained the rights to 8 players they didn't qualify three of their restricted free agents.  Defenseman Marc Cantin, as well as forwards Joe Diamond and Matt Mangene didn't receive qualifying offers making them unrestricted free agents.  Cantin was acquired by the Islanders a couple years ago in the Brian Rolston trade with the Bruins.  Meanwhile, Mangene was acquired at the trade deadline a couple months ago in the Andrew MacDonald trade with the Flyers.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Meet Josh Ho-Sang

photo by hockeysfuture

Tonight the Islanders surprised some as they traded two second round picks to get back into the late first round in order to draft forward Josh Ho-Sang.

Ho-Sang is one of the more controversial players in this draft and was pegged as the ultimate wild card by many experts.

Ho-Sang is one of the most skilled players in the draft with some saying he was the second best winger available.  Ho-Sang's junior team owner Warren Rychel said of Ho-Sang, "He's the most skilled player in North America.  He's the most skilled player to ever come through Windsor..."  Ho-Sang's vision and puck handling are among the attributes that enhance his tremendous skill.  Ho-Sang had 85 points in 67 games this season for the Spitfires including 32 goals.

While he has all the skill in the world, there have been many questions about his character and personality.  He concerned some teams that he might be more interested in entertaining then he is winning hockey games.  He is also someone that sometimes doesn't mesh well with authority occasionally pushing back against it which turns off some NHL teams.

To learn more about the Islanders newest prospect click here and here.

I like the aggressiveness here on the part of Garth Snow.  From what I have read, Ho-Sang has the potential to be a steal of the pick for the Islanders which is something we all know they can really use.  However, we have heard this before on some of Snow's picks so for Snow hopefully this turns out better then Kirill Petrov and Kirill Kabanov did.

Isles Jump Back Into Round 1 Take Ho-Sang

As the draft wound down tonight, the Islanders surprised some people as they traded back into the bottom of the first round.

They traded 2 second round picks to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the 28th overall pick.  Ironically, this pick initially belonged to the New York Rangers.  The Rangers traded it to the Lightning in the Martin St Louis trade.

With the pick, the Islanders selected forward Josh Ho-Sang.

Isles Keep Pick Take Dal Colle

Leading up to the NHL Draft in Philly, speculation ran rampant that the Islanders could potentially trade their 5th overall pick in an effort to get more established talent to help the team next season.

In the end they couldn't find a trade partner and ended up keeping the pick and drafting left winger Michael Dal Colle.  Check out our profile of Dal Colle here to learn more about the young winger.

While I am not thrilled that we kept the pick, I do like Dal Colle.  He fits the needs of the Islanders as a high end forward prospect that we severely lack.  Additionally, he seems to be a real character guy which as we all know is something the Islanders place a lot of value on.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Islanders Sign Lee To Qualifying Offer

According to reports, the Islanders have signed restricted free agent Anders Lee to a one year qualifying offer worth $850,000.  Lee is the first of a couple restricted free agents the Islanders need to make decisions on this summer.

Last season, in 22 games for the Islanders Lee had 14 points including 9 goals.  Additionally, in Bridgeport Lee had 41 points in 54 games including 22 goals.  At that pace, he would've shattered the mark for most goals by a Bridgeport rookie set by Brock Nelson in the 12/13 season.

Isles In Contact With Niskanen/Richards Among Others

Update: According to Katie Strang, the Islanders have also shown interest in free agent net minder Justin Peters about potentially filling the teams backup goalie role behind newly acquired number one goalie Jaroslav Halak.

In 21 games for the Hurricanes last season, Peters had a 2.50 GAA and a 9.19 save percentage.

While Peters wouldn't be my first choice for the job, he would be a pretty solid acquisition for the Islanders.
Today marked the day that teams were allowed to begin speaking with perspective un restricted free agents regarding parameters of contracts and such.

Multiple reports suggest the Islanders have been among the most active teams today.  Arthur Staple from Newsday reports that ex Ranger center Brad Richards and former Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen are believed to be two of the people the Islanders have contacted.

Now, Niskanen makes a lot of sense for us as our defense desperately could use the addition of another top 4 guy, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Lubomir Visnovsky.  However, Brad Richards doesn't make much sense with the Islanders dearth of centers already on the roster.
Like I said above, even though Niskanen will likely get really over paid, he would be a good pickup for us.  He would fill the top 4 need we currently have and also proved this year that he has the ability to put up points to.

Brad Richards coming here doesn't make much sense to me though.  We already have a dearth of centers and with our limited budget as is your going to take money to sign someone that doesn't fill much of a need.  That doesn't seem like a good use of already limited resources to me.  Also, if he is being looked at for wing, there is at least 4 or 5 other players on UFA alone not including in house options that I would put on the wing before looking at Richards.  That is even assuming Richards can play wing.

Draft Profile: Michael Dal Colle

photo by sportsnet

To conclude our set of draft profiles we will look at forward Michael Dal Colle.

Dal Colle rounds out what has been a pretty much consensus top 5 of this draft for some time now.  In 67 games this season for the Oshawa Generals, Dal Colle put up 95 points including 39 goals.  Also, in 12 playoff games this year he had 20 points including 8 goals.  At 6'2 217 Dal Colle's frame combined with scoring ability and hockey IQ has left some scouts jumping at the chance to add him to their teams system and with good reason.  

Most mock drafts have the Islanders taking Dal Colle in their fifth spot should they keep their pick.  With the Islanders lack of forward depth in the system specifically on the wing Dal Colle would fit the Islanders needs perfectly.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Is Josh Bailey Available?

According to TSN, NHL GM's are saying that Islanders forward Josh Bailey is a trade target but it would take a lot to acquire the young winger.

In 77 games for the Islanders last season Bailey put up career highs in points with 38 and assists with 30.  What is deceiving about these numbers is that they were mostly achieved in the first and last months of the season as for the rest of the time Bailey was seemingly non existent game in and game out on the ice.
I can't imagine Snow's price being met if he is truly seeking a lot for Bailey after watching Bailey play night in and night out for the better part of the last six years.  The fact that he is even available though is interesting in that Bailey is often seen as Garth Snows guy being his first draft pick so if he Snow is open to moving him that should tell you something.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Barclays Center Sending Mailer To Islanders Season Ticket Holders

According to Newsday, starting on July 1st, current Islanders season ticket holders will be emailed a video featuring Nets and Barclays CEO Brett Yormark plus a new slogan the Islanders will be using for their move to Brooklyn.  The slogan is, "Tradition Has a New Home."  This hasn't been popular with most fans as they respond with how about putting a winning team on the ice to entice me, or offering discounted LIRR tickets, or the ability to continue paying the current price for season tickets after the move as they do now as things that could be done to entice them to get season tickets following the Islanders departure to Brooklyn.

It is also noted that a potential sale of the Islanders will have NO effect on the teams deal with the Barclays Center.  Some fans had been worried that Andrew Barroway had intentions of trying to break the lease with Barclays Center and attempt to move the team elsewhere.  This should hopefully put those fears to bed.

While I do like the slogan, right now on the surface I have to side with the fans on this.  I will wait to see the video before I really criticize them for it but right now I have a hard time seeing how something like that would entice any fans at all let alone fans like us who have been through what we have been through.

Islanders Schedule Released & Highlights

Yesterday, the NHL released the Islanders schedule for their final season at the Nassau Coliseum.

As was reported on Saturday, they open the season on Friday October 10th at Carolina.  The following night they get right back at with their home opener against the Hurricanes.

Other highlights of the season include 5 games against the rival Penguins and Rangers.  Including 3 games at Nassau Coliseum against the Rangers after only having 1 game last season.  Additionally, the final regular season game at Nassau Coliseum is scheduled for Saturday April 11th against the Blue Jackets.  This is also the Islanders last scheduled home game of the season so there will be no road trip to finish out the season as there had been in previous years.  To check out the full schedule click here.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Draft Profile: Leon Draisaitl

photo by allhabs

As the NHL draft gets closer, today we will look at center Leon Draisaitl.

Draisaitl has been a top ranked prospect in this draft for a while now remaining pretty comfortably in the top 5.  In 64 games this season  for the Prince Albert Raiders, Draisaitl managed to put up 105 points including 38 goals.  At 6'1 208 Draisaitl can effectively play the role of power forward but with his passing skills he can also be an effective play maker.  While he does have some solid attributes, none are as exceptional as his vision on the ice.  When you combine all these characteristics it has some scouts salivating at the opportunity to add him to their team come draft day.

With all these stellar characteristics it would seem unlikely that the Islanders have the chance to draft Draisaitl when their spot comes up at 5th overall.  However, crazy things happen on the draft floor, just ask Seth Jones and Cam Fowler, so you never know.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Isles Home/Season Opener Announced

This afternoon, the NHL announced each teams home opener for next season.  The Islanders will open with a home and home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Islanders travel to Carolina on October 10th to open their season.  Then they get right back at it the next night as Carolina travels to the Coliseum for the Islanders home opener.  This will be the last Islanders home opener at Nassau Coliseum.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Botta: Barroway Has Executives Ready To Join The Team

Also, in that report this morning from Chris Botta, he notes that Barroway has executives ready to join the team should a sale be finalized with Wang and approved by the NHL.

It will be a refreshing change for us to actually have qualified executives come in here and run the team like an NHL team is supposed to be run.  Not Charles Wang's strategy of hiring people with little to no experience so they can be controlled.  Based off all the reports, a sale can't come soon enough for everyone involved.

Wang Would Like To Complete a Sale This Summer

According to Chris Botta, advisers for Charles Wang have told Andrew Barroway's group that Wang would like to complete a deal selling Barroway 80% of the team at a valuation of around 400 million dollars this summer.

This is the first time anything has been given a timeline by Botta or anyone for that matter which makes this very interesting and makes me even more optimistic of a sale happening.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Draft Profile: Sam Bennett

photo by thestar

Next up, we will be looking at center Sam Bennett.

In 57 games for the Kingston Frontenacs this season, Bennett put up 91 points including 36 goals.  Bennett also had 118 penalty minutes, displaying a gritty side to his game that both Ekblad and Reinhart who we have previously covered didn't have.  Bennett has drawn a lot of comparisons to Doug Gilmour because of his style of play and coincidentally Gilmour is the GM of Bennett's team.  Bennett's better attributes include his speed and acceleration as well as his hockey sense.  When speaking of him, David Gregory from NHL Central Scouting said, "...he's pretty much a top notch player."

While anything is possible on draft day, it would be very surprising if Bennett was still on the board at 5 when the Islanders are on the clock.

Boyle Hasn't Closed The Door On Resigning With the Islanders

This afternoon, Pierre Lebrun reported that the Islanders were shopping the rights to defenseman Dan Boyle looking to recoup the fifth round pick they traded for the veteran defensemans rights on June 5th.

Lebrun also had some interesting information from Dan Boyle's side of the negotiation.  His agent told Lebrun, "That being said, we haven't closed the door on talking to them.  The Islanders have Dan a lot to think about."  This is inline with the speculation recently that the Islanders had made him a pretty substantial 2 year offer.

Now, where have heard this before from a perspective UFA on the Islanders?  One has to wonder if this is a genuine sentiment by the players or just them trying to be nice.  I tend to lean more toward the latter but we will see in a few short weeks.

Snow Shopping Boyles Rights

Update: There are now conflicting reports abounding as Darren Dreger from TSN is reporting that Boyle is intrigued by the Islanders offer and still remains undecided.

According to ESPN, Garth Snow is shopping the rights to UFA to be defenseman Dan Boyle after the Islanders were unable to sign the veteran.

Boyle's rights were acquired by the Islanders on June 5th for a conditional 5th round pick in next years draft.  Quickly, reports came out giving little to no chance to sign him to a contract.  That seemed to possibly change though as it was rumored the Islanders made him a big money offer for 2 years which Boyle was considering.
While disappointing, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise.  This is probably going to be Boyle's last contract before retiring and he probably wants to go to a team that has a chance to do some damage in the playoffs and based off their recent history the Islanders aren't that team.  Now, it should be interesting how Snow responds to this.  Will he continue to try to acquire an effective defenseman?  Or will Griffin Reinhart be the teams only notable change on defense next season?  As much as I hope its the first option, it would not shock me at all if it is the latter which is unfortunate.

Botta: Barroway Looking To Buy 80% of Islanders

The latest turn in the Islanders sale talk came this morning from Chris Botta as he said on his weekly podcast that Andrew Barroway and his partners are looking to purchase 80% of the team.

There had been some confusion almost from the outset about how much of the team Wang wanted to sell.  If it was a minority stake, control, or the entire team.

Keeping a minority stake in the team makes sense for Wang as following the teams move to Brooklyn it would give him an avenue to recoup additional funds on top of the sale price of the team.

While I wouldn't be thrilled if Wang remained on in minority capacity as I was hoping he would be rid from the team forever as part of a sale it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world because he would no longer be in control.  

Separate from this is that I have a hard time seeing Barroway get any less then 100% of the team for 400 million dollars which is the reported purchase price.  

Nabby/Isles Still Far Apart on Contract Extension

Update: According to Pierre Lebrun, Evgeni Nabokov is likely headed to July 1st as he was told by Garth Snow, "We couldn't come to an agreement, it looks like he is headed to July 1."

According to Arthur Staple, the Islanders and goalie Evgeni Nabokov remain far apart on a potential contract extension as free agency approaches in under two weeks.

It was reported in the aftermath of the teams acquisition of Jaroslav Halak that Garth Snow had, had productive discussions with Evgeni Nabokov's agent about the Russian net minder coming back to serve as Halaks backup.  Additionally, it had been assumed by many that Nabokov would end up coming back as the teams backup so this news is surprising to say the least.
I was very surprised to read this as I was one who fully expected Nabokov to return next season as Halaks backup.  Although surprised, I am encouraged by this because there are many options on the open market that I would prefer over a reunion with Nabokov so this makes me think they might be looking to go in another direction.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Islanders To Host Hurricanes In Pre Season Game

photo by mediabistro

Earlier tonight, reports came out that the Islanders would be hosting the Carolina Hurricanes in the teams annual pre season game at the Nassau Coliseum.  The game will take place on September 24th which is just two days before the Islanders will play host to the Devils at the second NHL game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Isles Make Some Coaching/Management Changes

According to Newsday, the Islanders had a busy morning today as they announced many management changes including naming Greg Cronin and Bob Corkum assistant coaches.  Additionally, they named Doug Weight assistant GM.  Weight had previously been a special advisor to the GM.

Cronin had spent the last three years as the assistant coach of the Maple Leafs along with former Islanders head coach Scott Gordon.  Previously, he had been the head coach of Northeastern University for six seasons.  Cronin was an assistant coach for the Islanders for 5 seasons starting in 1998 and then was the head coach in Bridgeport for 2 seasons.

Meanwhile, Corkum had worked for the Islanders last season but now officially has the title of an assistant coach.

I am not going to lie, I am disappointed by these moves.  They scream typical Islanders to me and its a shame.  With the way the summer had started with the teams new proactive approach I thought they were starting to behave differently but these moves appear to me to be more of the same for them.

Lastly, Weight who has been an assistant coach and special advisor to Garth Snow since retiring from the NHL now would appear to have a similar position to what his friend Bill Guerin was recently given with the Penguins.

It appears on the surface that the Islanders will have quite the crowded bench next season with the additions of Corkum and Cronin on top of Weight and Capuano.  

The promotion of Weight is the only move I didn't mind as it seems to be a common trend of former players especially top tier ones retiring and going into management positions.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Draft Profile: Sam Reinhart

photo by nwsportsbeat

As the draft draws near, today we will take a look at forward Sam Reinhart.  Reinhart is the younger brother of Islanders top defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart.

Along with defenseman Aaron Ekblad, Reinhart has been on of the top ranked potential draftees of this draft for a while now.  In 60 games this season for the Kootenay Ice, Reinhart managed to put up 105 points including 36 goals.  Reinharts dad Paul who was also an NHL players raves about his sons understanding of the game and ability to do the small things.  Like Ekblad, Reinhart also has a high hockey IQ.

With his relation to Griffin Reinhart, it has left some Islander fans hoping for a possible reunion of brothers in Uniondale/Brooklyn.  While it would be nice, it would be a huge surprise if Reinhart were to fall to the Islanders at 5 making a brothers reunion very unlikely.

Friday, June 13, 2014

No Timetable For Boyle Decision/Might Visit LI Next Week

UpdateAccording to The Fourth Period, Boyle has spoken to many Islander players about their time with the team.  Additionally, he might visit Long Island next week, the site reports.

Boyle visiting Long Island could do wonders in helping the Islanders case.  It would give them the opportunity to show him that the area isn't only the Coliseum and the Marriot like many think it is and there is a lot more to the area like Nabby and Visnovsky among others have come to realize.  Not only that but they could have the opportunity to show him the Barclays Center and stuff associated with that as well.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Dan Boyle would give the Islanders an answer as to if the defenseman was interested in negotiating a contract with them by the end of this week.

However, the end of the week has now arrived and so far there has been no definitive answer from Boyle with his agent telling Arthur Staple that he has yet to make a decision and there is no timetable for his decision to be made.

Staple indicates that while Boyle might not have a timetable that the Islanders might.  Staple says that if there is no movement within the next week to week and a half that the Islanders could look to trade his rights.
While this isn't what we were looking for from Boyle when the day got started this isn't the worse news to get.  While it isn't ideal as he remains unsigned, he didn't say that he has no interest in signing just that he is still deciding if he wants to or not.  

Another Day Another Islanders Sale Rumor

photo by examiner

At the end of March, it was reported by Bob McKenzie from TSN that Islanders owner Charles B. Wang was negotiating to sell the Islanders.

Since that time it there has been a never ending cycle of speculation and such through Islander land including last weeks infamous "hack" of a NBC Sports Radio producer.

Well, today's sale rumor comes from Craig Carton of the Boomer and Carton show on WFAN Radio.  This morning on their broadcast, Carton said on air that he was told that the Islanders sale is done and will be announced after the Stanley Cup Finals end.

This isn't the first rumor of this nature as there have been many similar ones regarding the sale especially recently.  Sooner or later you have to think that where there is smoke there is fire.  Lucky for us, it doesn't appear as though we will have to wait much longer to find out.

Draft Profile: Aaron Ekblad

photo by yahoosports

Leading up to the NHL draft in a couple weeks, we will be going over some of the top prospects available.  The first we will be looking at is defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

The defenseman was only the second player to be granted exceptional player status in the OHL allowing him to play in the league at age 15.  The first player to get the honor was Islanders captain John Tavares.  This season, in 58 games for the Barrie Colts Ekblad put up 53 points.

Ekbald has long been considered one of the top picks of this draft along with Sam Reinhart who we will get to later.  One aspect of his game that he has received praise for is his maturity which most believe will translate well when he looks to make the step to the next level.  His frame at 6'4 216 and his ability to grow into it is another aspect of his game that has many scouts drooling over the potential to add him to their team.
While Ekblad will likely be gone by the time the Islanders chance to draft comes around at 5th overall, he is certainly someone whose name fans should listen for come draft day in just over two weeks and continue to look out for in the coming years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Islanders Offer Boyle A Contract

According to Darren Dreger on tonight's episode of insider trading on TSN, the Islanders have made defenseman Dan Boyle a contract offer.

"The Islanders, who have already made Boyle a contract offer according to Dreger, are waiting to hear from Boyle's camp about whether or not he intends to negotiate.  That decision is expected to come down this week."

The Islanders, who acquired Boyle's rights from the Sharks last week in exchange for a conditional fifth round pick in next years draft haven't been given much of a chance to retain the veteran defenseman.  It has been said that Boyle will be vetting the Islanders this week talking to people he knows about the team and will give the team an answer by the end of the week if he is interested in negotiating to stay here.

This appears to be another proactive move by GM Garth Snow as instead of waiting til the end of the week to make an offer he makes it earlier to try and expedite the negotiating process.  This is encouraging as Snow doesn't seem to be willing to waste any time in improving the team which is a welcomed change from recent years.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Boyle To Decide By The End of The Week

According to reports, Dan Boyle will be vetting the Islanders this week talking to people he knows and such about the team.  By the end of this week he is expected to let the Islanders know if he is interested in getting contract talks with the team started or not.

By letting them know then, Boyle is allowing Garth Snow time to recoup the pick he gave up should he decide not to stay here.

The Islanders acquired the negotiating rights to Boyle last week from the Sharks in exchange for a conditional fifth round pick in next years draft.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ex Isles Captain Guerin Named Assistant GM of Penguins

According to reports, in the midst of their front office revamp today, the Islanders division rival Penguins named former Islanders captain Bill Guerin an assistant GM.

Guerin served as Islanders captain for the 07/08 season and a portion of the 08/09 season before the Islanders dealt him to the Penguins at the trade deadline in 2009.  Guerin went on to win the 2009 Stanley Cup with the Penguins.

In 142 games for the Islanders Guerin put up 80 points and 128 penalty minutes.

This past summer Guerin joined Islanders assistant coach and his friend Doug Weight as they were inducted to the US Hockey Hall of Fame.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

BREAKING: Isles Acquire Rights To Dan Boyle From Sharks

According to Arthur Staple from Newsday, the Islanders have acquired the rights to defenseman Dan Boyle from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 5th round pick in next years draft.  If the Islanders are able to resign him it becomes a 4th round pick.

Last season, in 75 games for the Sharks Boyle had 36 points and 32 penalty minutes.  In 954 career NHL games Boyle has 561 points.

At his age, Boyle isn't the player he once was.  However, he is still a pretty solid defenseman and would be a really good asset for the Islanders especially given the uncertain health of Lubomir Visnovsky.  Additionally, it would be a good bridge until the multitude of young defensemen in the Islanders system are ready to come up to this level.  If the Islanders are able to get this deal done it would be a major change for Garth Snow in terms of summer activity.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Islanders To Host Pre Season Game In Bridgeport

The Islanders announced this morning that they will be hosting the Boston Bruins in a pre season game in Bridgeport on October 3rd.  This will be the teams final pre season game before they begin the regular season.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Islanders Ink Jesse Graham To 3 Year ELC

According to reports, yesterday the Islanders signed another prospect to an entry level contract.  This time it was defenseman Jesse Graham.

Graham, a 6th round pick of the Islanders in 2012 had 54 points in 66 games this season in the OHL split between the Niagara IceDogs and the Saginaw Spirit.  Following the end of his OHL season, Graham played in 7 games for Bridgeport where he put up 4 points.

Adding in Graham with the newly signed Ville Pokka and the other guys the Islanders already had here is creating a potentially crowded blue line in Bridgeport next season