New York Islanders Off Season Action Plan
The New York Islanders season is on life support. It’s going to take a mini-miracle for the Islanders to get into the post-season. A bad start and inconsistent play doomed them. This off-season it’s time for the organization to make major moves. Here is my off-season action plan.
Since the beginning of last summer, the New York Islanders ownership tandem of Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky have been meeting with people regarding the position of President of the organization. The time is now to make that a reality.
Bottom line the Islanders need new voices in the organization, including a Team President, a new general manager, and an experienced head coach.
Sign Tavares to Long-Term Deal
Come July 1st per the CBA the Islanders can extend John Tavares. Ownership needs to make this happen. Despite the hockey rumor mill, expect the captain to sign a max 8-year deal and stay on Long Island.
Tavares is very happy here, wants to lead this team to the promise land, and the Islanders can offer him the most lucrative deal.
New York Islanders
Trade for 2nd Line Center
The Islanders at different times this season were trying to acquire a second-line center. The two names that have come up and would be a strong fit are Matt Duchene (Colorado) and Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay).
Once again at the most critical time of their season, the Islanders offense failed them. This year it was the home games against Boston and Nashville. The prior two years it was in the playoffs against Tampa and Washington.
If the expansion draft were held today the Isles would lose either Ryan Strome or Ryan Pulock. This predicament in expansion should make a trade for a second-line center a reality. The Islanders match-up well in a potential deal with Colorado and Tampa.
The Islanders should move either Travis Hamonic or Calvin de Haan as one of the centerpieces in a deal to acquire a second line center. This makes sense from the standpoint of dealing from strength with the number of young blue liners coming down the pipeline in Pulock, Devon Toews, and Parker Wotherspoon.
Make Room for Pulock & Barzal
Come opening night next season the Islanders must have Ryan Pulock and Mathew Barzal in the lineup. Pulock is ready for the NHL. The 22-year old defenseman has done everything he has needed to do in the AHL for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (47GP, 13G, 40Pts). With Dennis Seidenberg set to become a free agent, the Isles 2013 1st round pick can slide into his slot.
Barzal has put up another terrific season in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds (79 Pts in 41 games). Like with Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Ho-Sang, it’s time for Barzal to develop at the NHL level. He never got a fair shot with then head coach Jack Capuano.
Should be noted both Pulock and Barzal have the chance to be difference makers on the power play which has been an Achilles heel for the Islanders the last three seasons.
Must Read: Ryan Pulock Can Help the Isles PP
Trade Bailey & Halak
The 27-year old Josh Bailey is having the best year of his career with 13 goals and 52 points (previous high 41 points). Bailey is only signed through next season and has a cap friendly number of $3.3 million.
Bailey is not going to be part of the Isles future core, the Isles must cash in on his excellent statistical season. Maybe Bailey could be used as part of the package to land a second line center?
Jaroslav Halak has one more year to go on his deal with a $4.5 million cap hit. It’s Thomas Greiss’ team now. The Islanders need to move Halak this off-season and free up as much cap space as possible.
Next: The Hungry Games for the Isles
The Islanders have plenty of inventory to make the right two – three major moves to make this team a contender next season. It’s time to be aggressive and get new voices in the organization.