It’s been a year since the New York Islanders lost Frans Nielsen in free agency but they are still feeling the effects of it in the present day.
What’s the biggest position of need for the New York Islanders at this current moment? It’s a second-line center, a position that Frans Nielsen would’ve absolutely filled for this team if they didn’t lose him a year ago today.
On July 1, 2016 he signed a six-year $31.5 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings. It came as a bit of a surprise as I think many expected Frans to stay and take the hometown discount initially.
Now, as we sit on July 1, 2017 we have a failed attempt of a trade for Matt Duchene as the lone attempt to replace Frans. Now Garth Snow has just two remaining options.
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He could throw money at a free agent center. Sure, I wrote about a bunch of them; Nick Bonino, Martin Hanzal, Joe Thornton. If you’re a fan of overpaying people past their prime then Option A is your go to move.
Thronton is a fossil and looking for a three-year deal that can become Grabovski-like if the Islanders went that route. Hanzal hasn’t played anything close to a full season since 2009-10 so that’d be a pretty brutal investment, and as for Bonino although he has the “clutch gene” he’s not going to give you the offensive production you’re looking for.
Option B is sticking with your youth. Having John Tavares center the top line, with Brock Nelson as the second line center, Casey Cizikas as the fourth line center and a mix of Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal as the third line center. I like that plan a lot better than throwing money away for no reason.
The Islanders have supposedly been linked to Justin Williams. Our guy, Tim Stevenson made the case for him the other day and did a pretty convincing job. If the Islanders can get him on the cheap, somewhere around $3 million a year would you do that?
Lee – Tavares – Eberle
Ladd – Nelson – Ho-Sang
Bailey – Barzal/Beauvillier – Williams
Chimera/Kulemin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
It gets a little sloppy if you want to do it that way but it may be the only alternative left for Garth Snow. The addition of Jordan Eberle was a good one, although despite what Garth does whether it’s free agency or giving the youth a shot it wouldn’t have been as good as landing someone via trade.
Nielsen’s 17 goals, 41 points and 53.8 faceoff win percentage seems pretty nice right about now. With the loss of Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin who would’ve thought it would end up being Nielsen the Isles would miss most.
July 1, 2016 is a day Isles fans likely would want to forget. With revisionist history, the day wasn’t too kind to the Islanders.