When one looks at the New York Islanders NHL roster today it’s interesting to note how completely different it will look over the next twelve months. The 2018-19 Islanders will be a completely different team.
There should be a few changes for the New York Islanders this off-season. However, that may pale in comparison in terms of the changes coming a year from now. This will be due to the amount of unrestricted and restricted veteran free agents the team will have.
Combine that with many of the Islanders top prospects knocking on the NHL door and a big roster change is ahead for the blue and orange.
Unrestricted and Restricted
As of today, the Islanders will have seven unrestricted free agents at the end of next season. They are Josh Bailey, Jason Chimera, Mikhail Grabovski, Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Hickey, Nikolai Kulemin,and Dennis Seidenberg.
It’s very possible none of the seven pending UFA’s will be back. With a new wave of players coming, there’s a good chance all of next year’s Islanders UFA’s will be playing elsewhere in 2018-19.
How does Garth Snow play his cards this off-season considering the number of UFA’s the organization has a year from now? What impact does that have in terms of including these UFA’s in this months trade talks?
New York Islanders
Either Nelson or Strome could be moved this off-season. If either of them is on this year’s squad both will have a lot to prove.
Prince and Quine will be playing this year to prove to the Isles front office that they should be part of this team’s future in terms of depth.
Between this off-season in terms of trades and expansion and next year’s group of UFA’s, it’s very likely half of the Isles roster could be gone in the near future.
The Next Wave
It would be surprising if Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock were not on the Isles opening night roster. The 2017-18 season should also have the debuts of Michael Dal Colle and Devon Toews at some point. Both should be counted on for the 2018-19 team.
One can write in either Ilya Sorokin or Linus Soderstrom as one of the Isles two netminders in 2018-19. Don’t be surprised if 2016 first-round pick Kieffer Bellows pushes for a spot on that team as well.
Many of these top prospects will be heavily discussed in trade talks this off-season (Hopefully not Barzal). Given next year’s turnover don’t expect Garth to trade more than one or two of them. More likely Garth will look to trade this years first-round pick than one of his top prospects.
With the turnover coming down the pike it will be interesting to see how that impacts the Islanders moves this off-season. Final thought, John Tavares will be part of the Isles from 2018-19 forward, write it down!