Middletown, N. J – Every year many fans sit around their computers and scour for any kind of news that will keep them interested through the long, hockey-less summer months.
Usually in June, with the Stanley Cup Finals being contested by teams that are far superior to the Islanders (for now) that news is centered around trade rumors, the upcoming NHL entry draft and the annual start of ‘crazy season’ as I dubbed it, professionally known as NHL free agency 2013.
We all have our wish lists and here at EyesOnIsles, I am no different. To begin with, I look at just who is going to be an unrestricted free agent come July 5 by position. After analyzing what the Islanders needs in my opinion are, I then decide who would fit into the Garth Snow model in terms of age, production and last but not least, cost.
All that usually is for naught however as realism quickly begins to take hold. The Islanders are still operating on a tight budget until the revenue stream turns to the black, assumed to be once they get to Brooklyn and begin play at Barclays Center. The stable of young stars at Bridgeport are beginning to earn their chance at a spot on the big club ; namely Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Matt Donovan being the predominant three that always come to my mind first. To allow them their rightful opportunity there needs to be roster spots open.
The old ‘dog and pony’ show of free agents not wanting to come to the Islanders has quickly faded as fast as the teams non-relevance did last season. Looking to be a perennial playoff contender of the future and one of the teams clearly on a metaphoric rise up the league ranks is making Long Island and Brooklyn optimal places to earn a buck. Having a most valuable player nominee (winner in most minds) does not hurt either.
At the end of the day it is always fun to play general manager, whether it be on the pages of our great website or while playing NHL13. So moving forward here is my take on the 4 forwards that Garth should put on his shopping list as he enters the NHL’s player store. (Agents beware, Snow is quickly reminding me of Lou Lamoriello, the great general manager in New Jersey, with a similar style and snarl to match). Defensemen will be featured in part two of this series………