New York Islanders Have a Big Off-Season Ahead
The New York Islanders have a big off-season ahead of them. So many key decisions have to be made by various parties that will impact the Isles over the next few years.
Now that the New York Islanders owners got the new arena done (just have to get the shovels in the ground) the focus is 100% on the team, starting this off-season.
It all starts with John Tavares this off-season. The number one overall selection of the 2009 NHL Draft is set to become an unrestricted free agent come July 1st.
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By all accounts, Tavares would like to see things work out with the Isles now and moving forward. He is close with his teammates, loves Long Island, and let’s not forget this is his team.
As long as Tavares doesn’t feel the franchise’s future is uncertain he will be back. However, it is not a certainty.
Snow & Weight
Will ownership bring back Garth Snow and Doug Weight? Does the Tavares contract negotiations impact on keeping or letting go Garth and Weight after the season?
If ownership lets Snow go do they go with a proven general manager like a Dean Lombardi or with a talented youngster?
It’s time for a change in the GM’s chair and if you hire a new person you have to let them pick the coach. In Lombardi, the Isles would be hiring a two-time Stanley Cup-winning GM and Tavares would recognize that.
Goalie & D
The Isles would be wise to go shopping this off-season for a proven goalie and blue liner. In a recent article, yours truly wrote I listed a number of options for the blue and orange in terms of adding a proven defenseman. If the Oilers are going to listen to offers on Oscar Klefbom, the Isles should pursue him very aggressively.
In terms of a net minder that could be very tricky. There is no Ben Bishop in this year’s free agent class. Also, it is yet to be seen what the trade market this summer will hold for goaltenders. Could a Braden Holtby become available due to cap reasons? That’s possible. Bottom line Isles need to improve at the position.
Lee & Eberle
Both Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle become UFA’s after next season. How much does Tavares decision affect how the Isles proceed with these scoring forwards?
Both Lee (39 Goals & 60 Points) and Eberle (25 Goals & 55 Points) have had strong years but the Isles have needs on the blue line and in net. Either one could be moved this off-season.
In a previous piece, I wrote about the upcoming June Draft and how big it is for the Islanders organization. If the Isles have a big night in terms of their selections it could set up the franchise for the next decade.
Going into Friday’s action, the Isles would have the 7th and 12th overall picks (have Calgary’s as well) if the chalk held come the night of the lottery. Isles fans will be at the edge of their seats on the night of the lottery as the ping pong balls bounce around come Saturday, April 28th. Imagine if both picks winded up in the top three?
Next: Ho-Sang Calls Out the Islanders
There is, even more, to discuss on the Isles this off-season, such as do top prospects Kieffer Bellows and Devon Toews make the team next season. But these other items are on the front burner here and now.