May 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders goalieEvgeni Nabokov
(20) on the ice before playing the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Astoria, NY – The NHL’s two-day interview period has ended and free agency is set to begin at noon today in what is sure to be an exciting Friday for fans of the 30 clubs around the league.
NHL GMs have spent the past two days speaking with various free agents but were technically not allowed to negotiate actual terms of deals with players. In fact, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly sent out a memo to all teams yesterday reminding them of the terms of the new CBA regarding what I considered to be “free agency limbo.”
Despite the restrictions—which were loosely enforced, at best—the terms of some free-agent contracts have been made public prior to the official beginning of the free agency period, like former Philadelphia Flyer Danny Briere’s reported deal with the Montreal Canadiens (2 years, $8 million).
Other highly sought-after free agents scheduled to hit the open market today include Daniel Alfredsson (OTT), David Clarkson (NJD), Nathan Horton (BOS), Tyler Bozak (TOR), Valtteri Filppula (DET), Mike Ribeiro (WAS), Ilya Bryzgalov (PHI) and Evgeni Nabokov (NYI).
New York Islanders GM Garth Snow will have his work cut out for him today and in the weeks that follow, having been outbid for Briere’s services and still needing to fill gaps in the Isles lineup at goaltender and right wing.
The Islanders are reportedly in the mix on a few free-agent goalies: Nabokov, Boston’s Anton Khudobin and Chicago’s Ray Emery. Help on their top line may come in the form of Mikhail Grabovski, whom the Toronto Maple Leafs bought out yesterday.
There are still trade scenarios to consider as well, meaning the Isles may still be trying to obtain Bobby Ryan and/or Jonas Hiller from the Anaheim Ducks—a dream come true for Islanders fans—or Jaroslav Halak of the St. Louis Blues, since he’s reported to be unhappy with his current situation.
No matter what happens today as the free agency floodgates open, EyesOnIsles will have you covered. The staff will be hosting a live chat beginning at noon (9:00 a.m. PT) to keep you on top of all the action around the NHL. Be sure to stop by and interact with us as we discuss options for the Islanders as well as signings that take place across the league.
Buckle up; it’s going to be a wild ride.
Garth Snow Already Improved the Islanders Before Free Agency (Isles Optimism)
Islanders Report Card: Keith Aucoin, Successful Rent-a-Waiver? (Lighthouse Hockey)
The Waterloo Connection (New York Islanders)
Eastern Teams Draft Grades (Yahoo)
Elias is Staying With the Devils (New York Times)
Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
Be sure to keep this in mind, Isles fans. Despite the overwhelming feeling that the Islanders want—and need—to plug some holes in the lineup to improve their roster ahead of next season, there are limits to what Garth can spend. His tenure as Isles GM has been successful so far because he’s been unwilling to overpay for most players. Just because other teams are making big splashes doesn’t necessarily mean they’re improving their respective teams.
With more questions than answers at this point, Isles Nation is on edge going into today. One thing is certain, though: Garth has his work cut out for him.
Then again, no one’s accused NHL GMs of making sound financial decisions over the past few days. Or months. Or years, even. I have a feeling we’ll see more bad contracts handed out before the start of the 2013-14 season.
So about those last five tweets…apparently, we at EYES aren’t the only ones treating today like Christmas morning. Let the #FreeAgencyFrenzy begin.
Here’s hoping Garth can work his GM magic today.
As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL offseason coverage and up-to-the-minute Islanders news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff; we’re always happy to talk hockey.