It sounds like the New York Islanders aren’t going to be big players in free agency on Saturday. Thank God, because what’s out there and what the Isles need doesn’t match up. They need a center. They need Duchene.
Arthur Staple indicates that the New York Islanders aren’t going to be players in free agency that starts on July 1. Did you all breathe a sigh of relief? Because you should.
The 2017 free agency class isn’t a good one. The biggest names was T.J. Oshie and that’s off the table after his big eight-year deal with the Washington Capitals. And by no way what the Islanders need.
The New York Islanders need a second line center. Tavares up top, Cizikas at the fourth spot and a combination of Bazal/Beauvillier on the third spot. But that second spot isn’t great. Brock Nelson seems like the fit based on the team’s current roster. But it’s Brock Nelson.
Barzal could sit in that second line if he and the Isles are ready, but personally, a third line role fits well for a kid they’re just bringing into the league.
So looking at the free agency pool in terms of available centers who’s left? And by free agents, I mean unrestricted free agents. Because we can all agree that offer sheets is a mechanism that we all know exists but not a single GM actually uses it.
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The 2017 Free Agent Class
If free agency is Garth’s only option then Sam Gagner’s my man. But there’s a reason he was paid just $650,000 last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Taking him on shouldn’t be a cap killer, but it’s still a risk. Even though Gagner’s been in the league a number of years he’s still an unknown quantity.
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Both Mike Fisher and Jumbo are 37-years-old. That should really be enough to keep the Islanders away. To be fair, Mike Fisher might be retiring this year anyways, so we wouldn’t have to worry about that.
Replace Mike Fisher in the top three available UFAS based on production and you get Martin Hanzal coming up a spot. And we’ve already gone over how the Isles need to avoid him at all costs.
So then what Nick Bonino? Why because he has two rings? That’s great for him. But there are enough rings in the Isles locker room right now that such an intangible shouldn’t be an incentive.
The Plan Now
Now it seems that Garth might be looking to add a depth defensive signing come July 1. Which makes little to no sense in my mind.
I know that Travis Hamonic is now gone. But the New York Islanders have two very capable defenders in the system, in Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech ready to step up. Why clog that up with a ninth player? In free agency?
If Colorado wants an under 25 defender with offensive promise that should be the play. We have two in Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews. Take your pick of whichever one you like least. (My pick is Toews).If it returns Matt Duchene I can live with it.