SoHo, NY– Amid all the confusion and frenzy that comes about with Free Agency day, the New York Islanders go about their business philosophy as usual. (You decide upon how to characterize said philosophy. I like it.)
Clamoring fans asking for this trade or that, frowning upon certain re-signings and ‘questionable’ pick ups, were treated instead to a stalwart move on Garth Snow‘s part. Refusing to give up on youth, the Isles GM signs 23-year old Travis Hamonic to a 7-year deal worth 27M, leaving enough cap space to make those moves Isles fans are so desperate to have made.
Once the smoke clears, I would imagine Isles country to look upon this move as the best one done all offseason, as New York secures their future on defense without hijacking their bankroll as done in recent years.
The Hamonic deal was as telegraphed a move as one can see in sports, as former Captain Mark Streit‘s departure to Philadelphia paved the way for Isles management to rally around their burgeoning talents and properly and responsibly rebuild for a brighter and more successful few years.
In this immediate gratification society, one must ask oneself: do you want to win a few postseason series, or attempt at constructing some semblance of a dynasty? Would you break the bank, sell your youth for some ‘proven’ veterans who may very well do as poorly as any novice can or will? Ask the Yankees how they’re doing these days, after having sold most of their prospects so as to free up monies for the likes of an Alex Rodriguez. Then take the train over to CitiField and ask the same question to the Mets. (While you’re at it, say hello to Bobby Bonilla for me.)
Obviously there’s no definitive answer, and the odds of success in any scenario is 50/50, and 100% in hindsight.
But Travis Hamonic making 3.85M a year for the next 84 months is for me the shrewdest move made by Garth Snow to date. Some may argue that re-signing Evgeni Nabokov for 2M+ for another year sort of trumps the aforementioned; fans wanting a Roberto Luongo, or if not Luongo, a forward worth double the Hamonic contract plus an even longer commitment would’ve been a better idea.
I disagree wholeheartedly. Nay, emphatically.
Leaving the Islanders at the basement floor of the cap allows for the possibility of keeping players like Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo, John Tavares, and Matt Martin in New York when it comes time to renegotiating their contracts. We must think of the future now more than ever.
Have I been frustrated these past ten years? Of course. But I’ve also learned that hasty GMs like the ones we’ve had in the past have cost us talent that have gone on to reap Stanley Cups elsewhere.
We cannot hearken to the past and say “Look we gave up Zdeno Chara for this or that” and then criticize GM Snow when he decides to be frugal and protective of his youthful talent.
Any major deals the Islanders would agree to from here on end will involve Ryan Strome. Now, do you really want to trade away Ryan Strome? Do you really want to relive another major error in your lifetime as an Isles fan? My heart and soul can only take losing another Chara once every 20 years.
By the way, if you look closely, resigning Nabokov says tons about Snow’s faith in Kevin Poulin as it does about Nabby, maybe more so about Poulin.
Stay the course. Getting a Luongo won’t guarantee squat-diddly. Stay with the devil you know, if you will. Hang tight and give youth a chance.
Besides, Thomas Vanek is still a possibility. Would that make you happier? But lest we forget, with Vanek comes Ryan Miller, and I don’t want a Ryan Miller on my team. Forget his numbers, for his divisiveness is poison enough to say ‘away with you’!
Let me leave you with this quote:
We’re building something special here [...] I never would have signed for this long if I didn’t truly believe that. Seven years is a long time. To me, that’s enough time to win a couple [of] Stanley Cups.
The Hammer with the statement of the summer.