The New York Islanders have a lot on the line this season. As do many of their players who will be able to test the free agent market come July 1st. The futures of these unrestricted free agents is yet to be determined.
The New York Islanders have eight players who will be unrestricted free agents at season’s end. Who will resign and who will move on to another team is a big question for this organization.
Certainly, this will be Jaroslav Halak last year with the Isles. Thomas Greiss is signed through the 2019-20 season. In addition, top prospect Linus Soderstrom will be ready for the NHL next season. Soderstrom has already signed his entry-level contract has the potential to be a top goalie in the NHL.
Halak will be 33 in May. He needs to have a big season for other NHL clubs to still consider him a #1 netminder.
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As every Islander fan knows the Isles are deep on the blue line. They currently are carrying eight defensemen which includes Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield, and Ryan Pulock. The Isles also have defensemen developing at Bridgeport in Devon Toews, Parker Wotherspoon, and Mitchell Vande Sompel.
The numbers don’t add up for the Isles to keep nor more than one of Calvin de Haan, Thomas Hickey, or Dennis Seidenberg. de Haan will need to at least have to repeat last year’s production for the Isles to consider signing him to a long-term deal.
The development of the young Islanders blueliners at both the NHL and AHL level could mean the organization says goodbye to all three pending free agents.
Chimera (38), and Kulemin (31) both will be gone after this season. If Bailey can repeat his production from last season (13G, 56Pts) he could be back with the Isles.
The thing to remember is the Isles have a lot of young forwards on the cusp of regular roles in the NHL. Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle are playing with the Sound Tigers and Kieffer Bellows finishes his junior career this season.
In addition, one has to believe that more talented young forwards will be added to the Isles organization come this June’s draft. Remember, currently, the Isles have two, first-round picks, as well as two second-round selections as a result of the Travis Hamonic trade with the Flames.
When one talks pending Islander free agents it’s all about John Tavares. Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky have to get their franchise player signed to a long-term extension.
Tavares means so much to the Isles on and off the ice. It would be a dark day for the franchise if Tavares leaves after this season. Yours truly expects a Tavares deal to get done, as by all accounts he is very happy with the Isles and wants to finish his career with the blue and orange.
The roster will look very different next season but that could be a good thing, with all the young talent still coming to the Isles. Another thing to consider is the amount of cap space the Isles will have even after signing the captain to a huge contract. That cap space could be used to acquire another signature proven player either via trade or free agency.