Nov 29, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; New York Rangers goalieHenrik Lundqvist
(30) during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Rangers made headlines yesterday, inking 2012 Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist to a seven-year, $59.5 million deal, which ensures he’ll torment the rival New York Islanders until at least 2021. Subplot: the Isles fans’ dream of one day seeing Lundqvist in the orange and blue has officially ended.
Because life sucks, then you die. Right? Wrong.
Anders Nilsson—in an admittedly ridiculously small sample size—has been steady in net. And Kevin Poulin hasn’t been below average by any stretch of the imagination. And what’s more, perhaps the best things about the Isles’ two up-and-coming goaltenders are their salary cap hits: just $900,000 for Nilsson and $577,500 for Poulin.
Or, you know, approximately 20 percent of Lundqvist’s yearly number when they’re added together.
This isn’t to say Nilsson and Poulin are anywhere near Lundqvist’s quality in net. (Because I know that’s what some people might assume based on what I’ve written so far. Just relax.) It’s only to say that despite any exclamations to the contrary, the Islanders not stealing Lundqvist away from their cross-town rivals wasn’t the worst thing ever.
Sure, Nilsson and Poulin will be entitled to decent raises this offseason as restricted free agents, but even when you combine their likely salaries in 2014, that number won’t come close to what Lundqvist will cost the Rangers on a yearly basis.
And based on what we’ve seen so far, a duo of Nilsson and Poulin for the foreseeable future gives the Islanders more than a solid combination in net. Aside from the defensive lapses in front of them—over which they have no control—both young goaltenders have played excellent hockey to date.
With more NHL experience, Nilsson and Poulin could blossom into top-tier prospects, which the front office expects. And in the end, the Isles will do what they always do: sign homegrown talent to reasonable deals. It isn’t the flashiest strategy in the NHL, but it certainly isn’t one that’s contributing to the next lockout.
Which, by my calculations, is scheduled for 2020.
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The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (6-10-1-3) still sit at the bottom of the AHL’s Eastern Conference, but uber prospect Ryan Strome has 25 points (7G, 18A) and was recently awarded CCM/AHL Player-of-the-Week and Rookie-of-the-Month honors.
Perhaps he’s letting his play—rather than his agent—make his case for a call-up to big club. It’s almost like he doesn’t want to run his mouth and get in trouble with the Isles front office and yeah you know where I’m going with this.
As always, thanks for reading Eyes On Isles. Keep it right here for all your New York Islanders news, notes and analysis.