Saturday, July 26, 2014

Asking The Crowd - Part IV

Do the Islanders make the playoffs this season?  Yes or no, and explain why.

(kcos194) I think the Isles make the playoffs this year because I like the goalie situation and in the NHL you build from the net out.  I like the top 2 D pairings, and I love the signings of Grabo and Kulemin.  I'm excited for camp to see who plays on JT's wing, and KO should have a big year as well as hopefully a breakout year for Strome.  They're deep.  REAL deep, and that gives me hope this year.

(NotMattyMarts) I believe we will make the playoffs this year because we finally have stability in net.  In my opinion, I think the tandem of Halak/Johnson could potentially be a top 5 goalie combo in the league this season.  I also believe that the Isles finally have 4 solid lines of NHL talent.  Lastly, we have a lot of depth with all these small signings by Garth.  This will be an exciting year for Isles fans.  Hopefully, it will have the storybook ending with the last year at the Coliseum.

(NYIslesPride) I see the Islanders making the playoffs in at least a wild card position.  The Isles now have a solid goaltending tandem, they've helped their offensive depth, and with the new upcoming defensive prospects and current players only getting better I can't see why they wouldn't make the playoffs.  I'm looking forward to a long stretch in this last season at the Coliseum.

(MattClausenGoing to start off with “No,” there’s still too many questions regarding the Islanders and the Metro actually looks like a fight. The Isles have stabilized in goal, but defense is the same crew that allowed the second highest number of goals in the NHL last year. Yes, fancy stats tell you that the D, despite major injuries and lost time by many members ended the season “Middle of the road,” there were points our top pair last year was Travis Hamonic and a kid we signed out of college. That’s not a winning formula. The Islanders are also gambling on secondary scoring to magically come back in the form of a duo of guys who played great together 3 years ago but one is a cast off without the other. All this in a division where Washington is itching to get back to relevance (you don’t hire Barry Trotz and Mitch Korn and not expect your D to improve, also they stole 2 key pieces from PIT), the Blue Jackets are the Isles with a defense I actually fear, and it’s only going to get better. The Rangers go as far as Lundqvist goes, always have and will, lottery team without him, team that gets a playoff berth with him. That’s all before the Penguins, who I will say probably finish below the Isles at the end of the day, and the Flyers, who are just annoying if they keep playing Craig Berube hockey. I can see the Isles pushing for a playoff spot, but I can’t guarantee it. Bubble team, if they don’t collectively put their heads up their asses as they tend to do in November.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Asking The Crowd - Part III

With this being the last season at the coli, do you expect crowd attendance to rise, also how many games do you plan on attending?

(kcos194) I think attendance will be good this year, and if it's not, shame on isles fans. Fans have barked for years about spending, now Wang has spent, so it's time for Isles fans to hold up their end of the bargain and show up. I live in NC but I'm planning on attending at least one game this year to get messy at the ol barn again.
(NotMattyMarts) I do believe attendance will rise this season...we won't sell out every game but I hope we can average at least 13k a night. I plan on going to at least 10-15 games this season. I wish I could go to more but it's hard being a full-time college student who works as well to find the free time to go to games this year but I will try my best (NYIslesPride) I do think the crowds will rise drastically seeing as theirs so much history in the building and this team. I will be at college upstate next year but am going to try and attend every home game I can when I'm home and some home playoff games hopefully too!
(MattClausen) It’s tough to say where attendance will be at the barn. I expect the place to fill on weekends and m
atinĂ©e holiday games, but has it ever filled on a Tuesday night in November in the midst of another losing streak? I think the interest in going to the Old Barn one last time will be stronger this year and you’ll probably see it fill more after the All-Star break (god, I’m going to hate this year’s gimmickfest, but I hate them all…) regardless of where the team is in the standings. But if the team wants capacity all season, actually do something we don’t do very well: win in November, give us a reason to keep coming in December and January when we’re usually looking at the top 10 prospects going “well, who are we getting now?” As for Me, I’ll try to get in as much as I can throughout the season.

Islanders Agree To 1 Year Deal With Kevin Poulin

According to reports, the Islanders agreed to a 1 year two way contract with goalie Kevin Poulin earlier today.  The contract will pay Poulin $675,000 at the NHL level next season and $175,000 in the AHL.  There is also a $275,000 guarantee part of the contract, according to Arthur Staple.

Poulin was the Islanders last remaining unsigned restricted free agent.

Kulemin/Brennan Select Their Numbers

Earlier today, the Islanders announced that new additions Nikolai Kulemin and TJ Brennan have chosen the numbers they will wear for this upcoming season.

Kulemin will wear number 86, meanwhile, Brennan will wear number 4.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Asking The Crowd - Part II

With all this speculations that Wang is selling, do you believe he actually pulls the cord and sells at least majority stakes? With this summer being one in Which the Isles have been spending, do you think that's a possible sign?

(kcos194) I'm torn on Wang because I know he genuinely loves this team. I don't hate him or want him to sell like some fans do. He's lost a TON Of money on this team and to be honest there's enough blame to go around for everyone, including fans, as to why. I think he ends up not selling unless this years team totally craps the bed. Then I think you'll see a new owner/GM/coach trio in the next few years.

(NotMattyMarts) I do believe Wang will sell the team. I would say most likey during the next off-season. Hopefully we will find out soon. Yes I think with all the money spent by the Isles this off-season that it is a great sign. Hopefully Brooklyn will attract more NHL talent to come play for the Isles and hopefully Wang is willing to open up the check book.

(NYIslesPride) Personally I think Wang wont sell this offseason but likely wait to see how they do their last season in the coliseum but the increase in spending could also show signs of him selling so i think its a toss up.

(MattClausen) Do I think Charles Sells; probably, but not at the anticipated timeline everyone’s expecting; furthermore the extra spending this summer is a welcome sign, but I’m not going to get into the tea leaves reading aspect of it. The guy has spent close to half a billion on this team (payroll over a decade, his attempts with the Lighthouse and Coliseum, the lease at the barn, buying the team when he did, there’s been HUNDREDS of millions spent on the Islanders that hasn’t been on the ice). Charles will sell when he feels he’s able to best recoup a significant portion of those losses, like any halfway decent business person would. Is it Barroway, an unnamed Guy or me; I don't, it’s silly to speculate. Here’s the thing, the next owner has to be willing to let Hockey Ops be Hockey ops and not let them go insane. Daddy Warbucks thought he was buying a winner in Buffalo and ended up with Ville Leino and praying for us to suck so he amplifies his chances at Connor McHockey (and while I think Del Colle will be great, we still should have punted this year’s pick in my minority opinion).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ex Islander Vanek Witness In FBI Investigation

photo by twitter

According to reports, former Islander forward Thomas Vanek is a witness in an FBI investigation into illegal gambling in upstate New York.

Those same reports state that two men who own a restaurant in Rochester New York are facing 23 charges of illegal gambling and that Vanek is a witness in the case.  He isn't the subject of any case or anything like that.  According to the statement from his agent Steve Bartlett, Vanek is fully cooperating with the FBI's investigation.

Botta: No News on Sale

Asking The Crowd - Part 1

Last year, we SaveTheIsles did a series where we asked some Islander fans questions related to the team. Well guess what, its back! 


Do you think the Isles are done this summer, or is a trade coming? If so, name some players that YOU would like to see them get.

(Isles Pride) Follow Here: Realistically I think the Isles are most likely done trade wise but Id really like them to trade for a top 4 dman to help the up and coming defensive prospects.

(Not Matty Marts) Follow Here: I personally believe that the isles are done this off-season. I don't think they will trade anymore. I would love it if the Isles take a chance on Free Agents: Michael Del Zotto and Devin Setoguchi.

(Kcos194) Follow Here: I don't think the isles are done, I think a trade is gonna happen before the season starts. It'd be interesting to see if any teams have forwards go down early in camp and end up trading a D man for Bailey. He's the one "premier" name I'd be okay losing. He needs a change of scenery. Personally I'd like to see Boychuck from BOS or Leddy from CHI here. But Garth has shown he won't overpay and that's good.

(Matt Clausen) Follow HereAre the Isles done for the Summer; I want to say no, but I am going to go against the grind and say no trade imminent. If there were a trade for a D, Chicago looks like the most likely partner and man wouldn’t Niklas Hjalmarrsson look good in Blue and Orange. I have to believe that Garth is trying to work the phones, but I’m not going to bang the drums everyday demanding a trade get finished. This is the quiet season now…if a trade happens expect it in September or October. Garth also doesn’t have a lot of assets he wants to move with high value right now. A guy like De Haan or Hickey, who I say is certainly replaceable in say a Hjalmarrsson deal, isn’t going to get dealt right now despite their values being on the upswing, and Grabner/Bailey have unknown or Negative trade value in my eyes, so it’s not a simple “trade players x and y and boom.” I’m willing to wait it out to serif Garth can get that missing guy on D.

Thomas Hickey signing tonight!

Time and Date: Monday July 21 6:00-7:30 p.m. 

Where: Islanders Team Store at Nassau Coliseum

Saturday, July 19, 2014

SaveTheIsles Chats With Islander Prospect Devon Toews

Would like to thank Devon on taking the time and being so generous in our conversation.  We wish him all the best in the future!

(STI) When did you start playing hockey? Was it something you picked up on your own, or did someone influence you?

(Toews) I started playing when I was 3 years old and loved it ever since. My parents took me public skating for the first time and I could skate by myself after just a few minutes on skates.

(STI) While growing up, did you play any other sports that maybe helped enhanced your hockey ability?

(Toews) I was a baseball fanatic growing up until it was time to choose one or the other and I choose hockey. Baseball has given be great hand-eye coordination that helps in hockey.

(STI) How would you describe your game to someone who's never seen you play? With that being said, what do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?

(Toews) I feel I play an offensive game without taking too many risks or sacrificing defense. My strengths are puck moving, hockey IQ and my active stick. Weaknesses are overall body strength and shot as I have been a small guy growing up I am starting to build strength now.

(STI) Is this your first time being in New York, specifically Long Island? If so, what are your thoughts about the area?

(Toews) This is my first time being in Long Island and it is pretty cool. Being from B.C. I love the trees and there is a good amount of trees here as well which makes it feel a bit like home.

(STI) When reflecting on this season, what are your thoughts on your first year in college hockey?

(Toews) My first year at Quinnipiac was a great experience. I feel I developed a lot as a player as well as a person and got to play on great team with players that taught me a lot. The education side was great as well.

(STI) Any thoughts about the multitude of changes happening on your old team the Surrey Eagles?

(Toews) It is frustrating to see a lot of the people that were there for our RBC run are gone.There are a lot of good people in that organization but i understand it is a business and things happen. I thank them a lot for allowing me to be a part of the organization.

(STI) What are your favorite hobbys off the ice?

(Toews) Hobbies off the ice includes golfing as well as enjoying being outdoors by the water. I do still enjoy playing baseball as well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Like and Follow Us on Social Media

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Islanders Resign de Haan/Cizikas

The Islanders had a busy day today.  After resigning Matt Donovan and Brett Gallant this morning, as well as releasing Kirill Kabanov, it was announced a little while ago that they had resigned Calvin de Haan and Casey Cizikas two of the teams three remaining restricted free agents.
The Islanders signed de Haan to a 3 year contract worth 5.9 million dollars.  In what was otherwise a down season for the Islanders last year, de Haan was a revelation.  De Haan split last season between the Islanders and their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport but played a majority of the season with the big club.  In 51 games for the Islanders last season de Haan managed 16 points and also formed one of the Islanders top defensive pairs alongside Travis Hamonic.  Meanwhile in 17 games for Bridgeport de Haan had 3 points.  This was the first time in his professional career that de Haan was able to play more then 56 games in a season.  The Islanders are looking to de Haan to continue to mature this year and establish himself as a top 4 defenseman for this team.  If de Haan is able to stay healthy and continue to evolve as a player, this contract could end up being a steal for the Islanders.

The Islanders also announced the signing of Casey Cizikas to a 2 year deal worth 2 million dollars.  After having a very good rookie season in the lockout shortened year of 2012/2013, Cizikas by his own admission struggled last season.  Even with his struggles Cizikas is till a good player for his role as 4th line center and penalty killer.  In 80 games for the Islanders last season Cizikas managed 16 points after having 15 points in 45 games during the lockout shortened 2012/2013 season.

Islanders To Release Kirill Kabanov

photo by zimbio

According to Newsday, the Islanders put forward Kirill Kabanov on waivers for the purpose of releasing him.

Kabanov, a 3rd round pick by the Islanders in 2010 played 48 games for their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport between 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.  About half way through last season Kabanov was loaned over seas to a Swedish team.

It is a shame that it didn't work out here for Kabanov as I really grew to like him and felt he matured a lot more then people gave him credit for.  However, this is a part of the business, an unfortunate part but a part none the less.

Isles Resign Donovan/Gallant

This morning it was reported that the Islanders had resigned defenseman Matt Donovan and forward Brett Gallant.

Donovan was signed to a 1 year 2 way deal worth $826,875 in the NHL and $65,000 in the AHL.  Donovan split last season between the Islanders and their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.  In 52 games for the Islanders last season Donovan had 16 points.  Meanwhile, in 27 games for Bridgeport last year Donovan had 21 points.  Donovan was written onto last years roster to replace Mark Streit.  This year, it won't be nearly as easy for Donovan to make the big club and he could very easily start the season in Bridgeport.

Meanwhile, Gallant was also signed to a 1 year 2 way contract but his contract is worth $605,000 in the NHL and $75,000 in the AHL.  Last season was Gallants 4th season with the Sound Tigers.  In 58 games Gallant had 2 points and 255 penalty minutes.  In his time in the AHL while he might not be the biggest fighter he established himself as one of the top fighters in the entire league.  That hard work paid off for Gallant at the end of last season when the Islanders called him up to their roster for the final 4 games.  In those 4 games Gallant managed 0 points and 17 penalty minutes.

Brock Nelson Meets Fans

Earlier today, Islanders forward Brock Nelson appeared at the Islanders team store to sign autographs for fans.  A couple hundred fans made their way to the team store to meet the Islanders young forward and talk a little hockey and of course get an item signed by him.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

July Autograph Lineup

This month, the Islanders will have a couple players appearing at their team store at Nassau Coliseum signing autographs for fans.

On Monday, July 14th, forward Brock Nelson will be at the team store from 6:00pm until 7:30pm.

The following Monday, July 21st, defenseman Thomas Hickey will be appearing at the team store from 6:00pm until 7:30pm.

To finish off the month, again on Monday, July 28th, forward Casey Cizikas will be at the team store from 6:00pm until 7:30pm.

The first 150 people at each signing are guaranteed to get an autograph.

If you are able to make to any of the signings you should come out as it is a great chance for you to meet your favorite Islander players.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy Birthday Ryan Strome

photo by hockeysfuture

Today, is a big day for Islanders forward Ryan Strome as he is celebrating his 21st birthday.

Last season, Strome split time between the Islanders and their AHL affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  In 37 games for Bridgeport last season, Strome had 49 points including 36 assists.  Meanwhile, in 37 games for the Islanders last season Strome had 18 points including 7 goals.

The way the lineup fills out now without any trades it would appear as though Strome is likely penciled in on the second line right wing for newly signed forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin.  With linemates like them it will only enhance Strome's development as he matures as a player.

We here at savetheisles would like to wish Strome a very happy 21st birthday.

Lee/Ness Sign Qualifying Offers

Today, it was reported that forward Anders Lee and defenseman Aaron Ness had signed their qualifying offers.

It was reported a couple of weeks ago that Lee had signed his deal, a 1 year deal worth 850K but was just made official today.  It was said at the time that the Islanders wanted to give Lee a full season up here to see what he does before giving him a longer term contract.

Meanwhile, the case with Ness is a lot murkier then Lee.  With the emergence of all the Islanders defense prospects this season Ness seems destined to find his way into the lineup of a team overseas.

Islanders Rookies Put On Summer Show For Fans

Last night, Islanders rookies squared off in the teams annual Blue VS White scrimmage.  The blue team ended up being victorious by a score of 7-3.

While the white team didn't get much going for themselves last night, one of the bright spots of the game for them was goalie Eamon McAdam who had a solid performance.

The talk of the night though had to be 2014 first round pick Josh Ho Sang who suited up on the blue teams first line.  Ho Sang dazzled fans with his speed and stick handling ability scoring a highlight reel goal during the scrimmage and another one during the skills competition shootout.

Forward Alan Quine also stuck out on the blue team having a solid game, he had some flashy moves in the skills competition as well.  White team defenseman Jake Rutt had a physical edge to his game.  Fifth overall pick Michael Dal Colle had a quiet game and hit the post during his post game shootout attempt.

The post event autograph session while a nice gesture for fans was done horribly this year compared to years past.  It was very unorganized and it was moved along so quick to the point where people wondered why they even bothered having it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sites From Rookie Camp Day 2

Photo: Griffin Reinhart and Loic Leduc

Embedded image permalink

Photo: Brent Thompson and Yuri Terao



NHL News: Kane/Toews Sign Huge Extensions With Hawks

This afternoon, the Blackhawks accomplished what they had been looking to do for a little while now when they locked up superstars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to huge 8 year extensions worth 84 million dollars.  These new contracts put Kane and Toews right up there with Sidney Crosby among the highest payed players in the game.  However, they do have the highest cap hit of anyone in the league at 10.5 million dollars a year.

Kane and Toews have been superstars since they arrived in the league.  Add in the two cups, and it shouldn't be a shock the money that they got.  It will be interesting to see in the coming years if the Blackhawks have any trouble filling out the team around them with these two huge cap hits though. 

Ho Sang Creating Buzz At Islanders Camp

Yesterday, the Islanders annual rookie mini camp started in advance of the Blue vs White scrimmage tomorrow night.

Seemingly all the talk from yesterdays camp revolved around this years first round pick.  Now, you would think based off that statement it would be about 5th overall pick Michael Dal Colle.  However, you would be incorrect as 28th overall pick Josh Ho Sang was the talk yesterday.  It didn't matter if he was on the ice dazzling people with his skating ability or off the ice in interviews.
Yesterday, when asked about the criticism he faced from other scouts Ho Sang said, "I don't play for the scouts, I play for the Islanders."  This is an example of the personality traits that caused him to fall on the draft board of some teams because they felt he didn't match up with the old school thoughts of the way perspective draftees should behave.
With his noted perception but also his tremendous skill it is perhaps no coincidence that Ho Sang is rooming with Islanders defenseman Griffin Reinhart this week.  Reinhart, the Islanders 1st round pick in 2012 is likely penciled into next seasons lineup barring a meltdown in camp.  By pairing the two together this week and having them spend so much time together, the Islanders are hoping that Reinharts leadership qualities that led to him being named the captain of his juniors team this past season that won the memorial trophy will rub off on Ho Sang and help him mature more.

Although I can see where some could have issue with his personality, I have no issue with it within reason.  Of course, if it becomes a detriment to the team it is an issue.  However, Ho Sang shouldn't be forced to radically change his personality to conform to some old school standards or something ridiculous like that.  The Islanders as a whole have a team of good guys, it wouldn't be the end of the world to have some attitude mixed in there which is what Ho Sang can bring.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sites From Rookie Camp Day 1

Isles To Continue Their Affiliation With Stockton

The Islanders began their affiliation with the ECHL's Stockton Thunder last season and announced today that the affiliation was renewed for a second season.

Four Islanders prospects suited up for the Thunder last season including Kirill Kabanov who has since went over seas and Andrey Pedan both of who are former third round picks.  Ten other players who ended the season on the Thunders roster saw time in Bridgeport last season including Riley Wetmore, Ben Rosen, and Parker Milner.

This affiliation is a good thing for the Islanders as it gives the team an additional development tool which is never bad.

Islanders Add Reasoner To Development Staff

According to Newsday, the Islanders have hired ex NHL player Marty Reasoner to be apart of their player development staff.

Reasoner played in the NHL from 1998/1999 until the 2012/2013 lockout shortened season.  Reasoner played his last two NHL seasons with the Islanders where he put up 11 points in 92 games.  Overall, for his career Reasoner had 266 points in 798 games.  Reasoner will be working mostly with the prospects in Bridgeport, Newsday reports.
Although he struggled with us, in his time Reasoner was a solid NHL player for his role.  He should have a lot to pass on to kids serving in this position.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What Now?

Last week, the Islanders had a rather quiet free agent opening day signing Chad Johnson to solidify the back up goalie position behind the newly acquired Jaroslav Halak.  Additionally, they brought in a couple of depth players as well.  The lack of activity had most fans frustrated thinking this was going to be another typical summer for the team.

However, the next day that all changed when it was announced that they had signed forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to 4 year contracts each paying the pair a combined total of 36.75 million dollars.  The Islanders finally did something that Garth Snow long said he would never do and that is over pay for mid tier talent.

The acquisition of these forwards caused most in Islanders Country to think, now what?  With the acquisition of Grabovski and Kulemin the Islanders will have 16 forwards signed looking to get spots on the NHL roster.  With the glut of forwards and the lone item remaining on most fans summer wish lists being improving the defense, most began to speculate about trading one of the many forwards in order to acquire a defenseman.  However, some were discouraged the other day when in a radio interview with Joe and Evan on WFAN, Garth Snow didn't seem to hint that a trade was going to happen.  It makes sense for Snow to portray that kind of image in public because if he didn't that would hamper his potential leverage in any deal he looked to make.

Should Snow be able to acquire a defenseman to add to his already stellar summer there might be some late spring hockey in Uniondale next year as we say goodbye to the Coliseum.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Poulin Files For Arbitration

photo by spokeo

According to Newsday, Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin has filed for salary arbitration.

In 29 games for the Islanders last season, Poulin had a 3.29 GAA and a .891 save percentage.  Along with Evgeni Nabokov and Anders Nilsson, the trio combined for the worst goalie stats in the entire league last season.  While it was a struggle for Poulin in the NHL, he did fare better in limited time in the AHL.  In 15 games playing for Bridgeport, Poulin had a 2.65 GAA and a .910 save percentage.  Those represented Poulins best numbers since the 11/12 season.

Initially, it seemed as though Poulin would be the odd man out with Nilsson taking the reigns in Bridgeport.  However, with Nilsson leaving for Europe, the door opened for Poulin to return to the team.  I expect him and newly acquired David Leggio to platoon with each other down in Bridgeport next season.

NHL News: Gretzky Part of Group Trying to Get An NHL Team In Seattle?

According to a report from the New York Post, NHL legend Wayne Gretzky is part of a potential ownership group looking to get an NHL team in Seattle.

The report says that Gretzky's group is one of 3 groups attempting to get a team in the area, however they need an arena to play in first and the plans on that aren't very clear right now.  It is unclear if the plan would be for expansion which wouldn't be wise as Gary Bettman has said he doesn't think the league is ready for an expansion, or if the group planned to buy a team and then move them to that region.

Gretzkys agent later denied the report but seemed to admit that Gretzky had been contacted for not only the Seattle bid but other ownership opportunities across the four major sports.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Frans Nielsen Untouchable?

Yesterday, following the signings of Grabovski and Kulemin, Islanders Country started speculating about trade possibilities with the now glut of forwards the team has.  Following the signing of Casey Cizikas and Anders Lee the Islanders will have 17 forwards signed.

One name that repeatedly came up in speculation among fans was Islanders center Frans Nielsen who had a breakout season last year putting up 58 points as the teams second line center.  Well, according to Brian Compton, fans can breathe a little easier as Nielsen won't be going anywhere as he is reporting that Nielsen is not in play in trade talks and will not be put in play.
I wasn't one of the fans dead set against trading Nielsen.  While I certainly wouldn't shop him, if the right deal came along I would have a hard time not pulling the trigger.  Given that though, I am not at all disappointed to hear this.  Nielsen will be a key player for the Islanders this year as he looks to prove last years career year is now the norm for him and wasn't an aberration.

Happy Birthday Anders Lee

photo by hockeysfuture

Today, Islanders forward Anders Lee is celebrating is 24th birthday.

Last season, in 22 games for the Islanders Lee managed to put up 14 points including 9 goals.  Meanwhile, in 54 games for the Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport Lee put up 41 points including 22 goals  He was on pace to shatter the Bridgeport single season goal scoring record for a rookie set by Brock Nelson just the previous season.  With Lee signing his qualifying offer recently, it would appear as though baring a let down in camp he will be on the opening night roster.  It will be interesting to watch him this season to see if he is able to build on last seasons stellar play or if he takes a step back which sometimes happens with younger players.

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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Meet Nikolai Kulemin

photo by ESPN

This afternoon along with Grabovski the Islanders added winger Nikolai Kulemin on a 4 year deal worth 16.75 million dollars.

Last season, in 77 games for the Leafs Kulemin had 20 points.  Kulemin had been on the Leafs for his entire career to this point.  Kulemin had a career high in points in 2010/2011 with 57 including 30 goals.  Kulemin also brings a little bit of size at 6'1 225 to an otherwise smaller Islanders lineup as well as another physical, tough to play against player which the Islanders seem to look for.  

It would appear as though the Islanders hope that coming back to his former assistant coach who he had his best season under will help get the best out of him.  Acquiring Kulemin takes some pressures off Nelson, Strome, and Lee as they adjust to their second seasons in the NHL which is a very good thing and a welcomed change from this team.

Meet Mikhail Grabovski

photo by theleafsnation

This afternoon, it was announced that the Islanders signed Mikhail Grabovski to a 4 year contract worth 5 million per season.

Last season for the Capitals in 58 games, Grabovski had 13 goals and 22 assists.  Grabovski had to wait a while for a contract last season after getting a bad reputation after leaving Toronto.  However, he seemed to put the concerning issues behind him last season in his time with the Capitals.  His play making ability as well as his skating are some things that draw rave reviews from people when critiquing his game.  Grabovski also gives the Islanders valuable versatility being able to play both center and wing.

It is nice to be talking about this rather then what we thought we would be talking about last night.  Grabovski has shown potential to be a solid offensive player and placed in the right situation he could be a very solid pickup for the Islanders.  

BREAKING NEWS: Islanders Sign Grabovski & Kulemin To 4 Year Contracts

According to reports, the Islanders came out of the woodwork today to sign forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to 4 year contracts.  Both of the forwards played for new Islanders assistant coach Greg Cronin in Montreal and it is believed he pushed hard for both players.  Reports are also suggesting that the pair was came as a package deal as they became very good friends with each other in their time together in Toronto.

Grabovski was signed to a 4 year deal worth 20 million dollars.  Last year in 58 games for the Capitals Grabovski had 35 points including 13 goals.

Meanwhile, Kulemin was signed to a 4 year deal worth 16.75 million dollars.  Last season, in 70 games for the Leafs Kulemin had 20 points.

You can easily criticize them for these contracts specifically the Kulemin one.  However, I am just happy they are showing they have a pulse and a desire to continue to improve the team after the statements last night to the contrary.  With the roster the way it is now I wonder what moves will be made because the roster seems pretty full now.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Islanders Add Depth As Free Agency Opens

Today marked the annual beginning of NHL free agency.  While teams were out there acquiring talent to improve their team the Islanders in typical fashion signed a hand full of depth players.

While depth players are certainly needed and useful for a multitude of reasons signing them today rather then in a couple weeks is puzzling to me.

The Islanders signed forwards Cory Conacher, Kael Mouillierat, Jack Skille, and Harry Zolnierczyk to 1 year contracts.  Additionally, they signed defenseman TJ Brennan to a one year contract and goalie David Leggio to a 1 year contract.

Starting with Conacher whose contract also happens to be a one way deal meaning two things:  he gets paid the same amount of money regardless if he is in the NHL or the AHL and he has to pass through waivers in order to be sent down.  Conacher emerged on the scene with Tampa Bay a couple years ago putting up stellar numbers alongside Martin St Louis and Steven Stamkos.  With his value high Tampa shipped him off to Ottawa in exchange for Ben Bishop.  Since then Conacher has just fallen off the face of the earth and last season had only 26 points in 79 games splitting time between Ottawa and Buffalo.

The fact that this is a one way contract screams of another project like Pierre Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin last season and we see how well those worked out.  Given his track record of success alongside Stamkos and St Louis could we be looking at our first line winger?

The Islanders also signed Kael Mouillierat to a 1 year 2 way contract.  This isn't Mouillierat's first go around in the organization as he played 44 games for Bridgeport in the 11/12 season.  Following that he departed to the Jets AHL team in ST Johns.  In 60 games for them last season Mouillierat put up 53 points.

Mouillierat seems as though he is a pretty good depth player for us so I have no issue with the signing.  What I have issue with is when it was done.  I have a hard time believing that he was such a hot commodity that he wouldn't have been around in another couple weeks.

The Islanders last signing of the night was forward Jack Skille to a 1 year 2 way contract.  Skille, a former first round pick of the Blackhawks has never been able to find a full time role in the NHL.  Last season, in 16 games for Columbus Skille had 4 points.  Additionally, in 22 games for the Blue Jackets AHL affiliate in Springfield Skille had 24 points including 13 goals.

Again, like mentioned above I don't have an issue signing depth because it can be valuable.  However, I don't feel as though especially for a team like us with all the holes we have that this is something we should be doing at a time like this.

Between Mouillierat and Skille the Islanders signed another forward.  Former Flyers farm hand Harry Zolnierczyk was signed by the Islanders to a 1 year 2 way contract.  If Zolnierczyk plays with the Islanders his salary is 600K, meanwhile if he is in the AHL that is cut in half to 300K.  Zolnierczyk had a break out season in the AHL for the Phantoms last season putting up 18 goals and 18 assists in 57 games to go along with 75 penalty minutes.

Bridgeport was in dire need of people up front so he makes sense.  Like the others though, I can't imagine that he would've been off the board a couple weeks from now.

On defense, which was one of the Islanders most glaring needs last season they brought in TJ Brennan on a 1 year one way contract worth 600K.  Brennan was the AHL defenseman of the year last season with the Toronto Marlies.  In 76 games last season for the Marlies, Brennan had 25 goals and 47 assists along with 115 PIMS.

In general, I wouldn't mind the signing.  However, because this was our backup plan to Dan Boyle is where we have some issues.  Brennan seems like a low risk potentially high reward move.  However, with all the question marks surrounding the Islanders defense already adding another one isn't exactly a very smart strategy if you ask me.

The Islanders last depth signing of the day was goalie David Leggio who was sign to a 1 year 2 way contract.  In 45 games for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League last season Leggio had a 2.63 GAA and a .913 save percentage.  He was signed likely to platoon with Kevin Poulin in Bridgeport this season after the departure of Anders Nilsson.

Again, like the others I don't have a problem with the signing and in fact I like it so it doesn't guarantee Poulin a job and makes him earn it.  All I question with it is the timing.

While there might be a lot of time left in the summer, if you believe Garth Snow's recent quotes it appears as though the team you see now is more or less the team you will see on opening night which is extremely unfortunate to say the least.  

Islanders Sign Johnson To 2 Year Contract

When the off season opened it was clear that the Islanders drastically needed to improve their goalies.  They did that early in the off season by acquiring and signing up Jaroslav Halak.  But they still needed a backup as it became clear that they would not have a reunion with Evgeni Nabokov.

Right at the outset of free agency today the Islanders took care of that issue as they signed former Bruins backup goalie Chad Johnson to a two year contract worth 1.3 million per season to take over that role for the Islanders.

Johnson had a 2.10 GAA and a .925 save percentage in 27 games for the Bruins last season.

This was actually a solid signing as Johnson was one of the top backup goalies available.

Free Agent Frenzy

With the start of free agency today, we will track all the signings as they get announced.  If you hear something from a reliable source but don't see it posted here comment and you might end up seeing it in the post.

10:46PM - Red Wings re sign Kyle Quincy to a 2 year contract.

7:08PM - Islanders sign Jack Skille to a 1 year 2 way contract.

6:14PM - Islanders sign Cory Conacher to a 1 year deal worth 600K

6:11PM - Islanders sign David Leggio to a 2 way contract.

6:08PM - Islanders sign Harry Zolniercyzk to a 1 year 2 way deal.  Zolniercyzk would make 600K in the NHL or 300K if he is in the AHL.

6:02PM - Marcel Goc re signs in Pittsburgh

6:01PM - Evgeni Nabokov signs 1 year deal with Lightning worth 1.55 million.

5:50PM - Stu Bickel signs a 1 year 2 way contract with the Wild

5:47PM - Joey MacDonald signs 1 year 2 way deal with Montreal

5:28PM - Lightning sign Brian Boyle to a 3 year contract worth 2 million per season.

5:03PM - Dallas signs Patrick Eaves to a 1 year contract

5:01PM - Panthers sign Willie Mitchell to a 2 year deal worth 4.25 million per year.

4:56PM - Capitals sign Matt Niskanen to a 7 year contract worth 40.25 million dollars

4:36PM - Brad Richards signs 1 year deal worth 2 million with Chicago

4:29PM - Kings sign Adam Cracknell to a 1 year deal worth 600K

4:14PM - Rangers sign Matt Hunwick to a 1 year contract worth 600K

4:13PM - Devan Dubnyk signs 1 year deal with Arizona worth 800K

4:12PM - Flyers re sign Ray Emery to a 1 year contract worth 1 million dollars.

4:08PM - Andrei Meszaros signs 1 year deal with Buffalo for just over 4 million.

3:52PM - Rangers sign Steve Kampfer to a 2 way contract

3:52PM - Detroit signs Kevin Porter to a 2 way contract.

3:49PM - Devils sign Scott Clemmensen to a 1 year 2 way contract.

3:29PM - Calgary signs Deryk Engelland to a 3 year contract worth 2.9 million per season.

3:27PM - Islanders sign Kael Mouillierat to a 1 year 2 way contract

2:37PM - Steve Bernier re signs with the Devils 1 year 600K

2:31PM - Anton Stralman signs 5 year contract with Tampa Bay Lightning worth 22.5 million dollars.

2:28PM - Peter Regin re signs with the Blackhawks 1 year 650K

2:27PM - Jiri Tlusty signs 1 year deal with Carolina worth 2.95 million

2:22PM - Leo Komarov signs 4 year deal with Toronto worth 2.995 million per season.

2:21PM - Jarome Iginla signs 3 year deal with Colorado worth 16 million

2:05 PM - Martin Havlat signs 1 year 1.5 million dollar deal with New Jersey.

2:05 PM - Matt Moulson signs 5 year deal with Buffalo worth 5 million per season.

2:04 PM - Derek MacKenzie signs 3 year deal with the Panthers worth 3.9 million

1:58 PM - Bruno Gervais signs 1 year deal with Colorado

1:54 PM - Rangers sign Mike Kostka to a 1 year deal worth 650K

1:50 PM - Rangers sign Dominic Moore to a 2 year contract worth 1.5 million per season.

1:49 PM - Rangers sign Tanner Glass to a 3 year contract worth 1.45 million per season.

1:45 PM - Robidas signs 3 year contract with Toronto worth 3 million per season.

1:42 PM - Thomas Vanek signs 3 year contract with Minnesota worth 6.5 million per season.

1:36 PM - Calgary signs Jonas Hiller to a 2 year contract worth 4.5 million per season.

1:28 PM - Edmonton signs Keith Aulie to a 1 year contract worth 800K

1:25 PM - Jets sign Mathieu Perreault to a 3 year contract worth 3 million per season.

1:18 PM - Brian Gionta signs 3 year contract with Buffalo worth 4.25 million per season.

1:17 PM - Panthers sign Shawn Thornton to a 2 year contract worth 1.2 million per season.

1:13 PM - Clayton Stoner signs 4 year contract with the Ducks worth 13 million.

1:12 PM - Blake Comeau signs 1 year deal with the Penguins worth 700K

1:11 PM - Thomas Greiss signs 1 year deal with the Penguins worth 1 million dollars

1:06 PM - Anders Lindback signs with Dallas

1:05 PM - Ales Hemsky signs 3 year contract with Dallas worth 4 million per season.

1:04 PM - Ryan Millers signs 3 year deal with Vancouver worth 6 million per season.

1:04 PM - Panthers sign Al Montoya

12:59 PM - Washington signs Brooks Orpik to a 5 year deal worth 27.5 million.

12:57 PM - Montreal signs Mike Weaver to a 1 year contract worth 1.75 million.

12:57 PM - Joe Vitale signs 3 year deal with Arizona

12:51 PM - Dylan Reese signs 2 year contract with Arizona.

12:48 PM - Sharks trade Brad Stuart to Colorado for a 2nd round pick and a 6th round pick.

12:45 PM - Panthers sign David Bolland to a 5 year contract worth 5.5 per season.

12:43 PM - Calgary signs Mason Raymond 3 years 3.16 per season.

12:41 PM - Rangers sign Dan Boyle to a 2 year deal worth 9 million dollars.

12:39 PM - Jussi Jokinen signs 4 year deal with Florida Panthers worth 4 million per season.

12:37 PM - Tom Gilbert signs 2 year deal with Montreal worth 2.8 per season.

12:36 PM - Mike Cammelleri signs 5 year contract worth 5 million per season with New Jersey.

12:35 PM - Islanders sign TJ Brennan to a 1 year 1 way contract worth 600K

12:34 PM - Paul Stastny signs 4 years with the Blues worth 7 million per season

12:31 PM - Josh Gorges traded to Buffalo for a 2nd round pick in 2016.

12:31 PM - Justin Peters signs with Washington

12:25 PM - Senators re-sign Milan Michalek to a 3 year deal worth 4 million per season.

12:19 PM - Islanders sign Chad Johnson to a 2 year deal worth 1.3 per season 

12:12 PM - Oilers sign defenseman Mark Fayne to 4 year contract worth 3.5 per season and forward Benoit Pouliot to a 5 year contract worth 4 million per season.

12:07PM - Penguins sign Christian Ehrhoff 1 year 4 million

12:06PM - Montreal signs Manny Malhotra 1 year 850K