It’s July 1st, and free agency is upon us. Some New York Islanders unrestricted free agents not named John Tavares have already found new homes, while we still wait for the captain to decide where he’s going.
We’re all anticipating a deal between the New York Islanders and John Tavares to get sorted out. And we hope its a favorable decision. Though unlikely at this point. It’s been a full 12 months since the team and it’s star player could sit and work out a deal, and still nothing.
Tavares wasn’t the only unrestricted free agent going into July 1st, 2018. The Islanders had another six players that had expiring deals.
And as we go into the 12 pm marker for when deals can be signed and announced, some already have a place to go, while we still wait for others.
Nikolai Kulemin: Mettalurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
We knew Kulemin wouldn’t be back with the Islanders at the end of his deal. Injuries were mounting and Kulemin’s impact on the game was marginal. His $4.1875 million cap hit however loomed large on the Islander payroll for some time.
It’s sad that his Islanders and NHL career ended with him being on the injured list.
Chris Wagner: Boston Bruins
Brought in at the 2018 trade deadline for Jason Chimera his impact was less than the guy he replaced. He was supposed to be a good depth forward that could kill penalty kill. He was neither. The Isles penalty kill remained the worst in the league and Wagner added but a single point.
Good luck Boston.
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Jaroslav Halak: Boston Bruins
Halak was awful last year. And yet, he still found himself an NHL gig. Mind you he won’t be playing 50-60 games as a starter. In Boston, Halak will serve as the backup for Tuukka Rask now that Anton Khudobin is gone.
Maybe that suits Halak better. He’ll know his role in the team and will join a stable organization. Unlike everything, he’s ever known as an Islander.
Not Gone Yet
With few defensemen in the free agent market, there’s no wonder why Hickey is getting tons of attention. He’s a solid 5-6 defender that can put up OK numbers. And he won’t cost a team a lot. For any team looking for a smart reliable player, Thomas Hickey is the man.
There’s still see a possibility that he stays with the Islanders. But the opportunity to go and play somewhere else with a more stable roster spot might be too appealing for Hickey
Calvin de Haan
Again, because the free agent class is so weak on defense, Calvin de Haan has become one of the premier targets. Sure, he missed 60% of the NHL last year, but he was still on pace for 30 points. That would have been back-to-back career years.
de Haan is going to get some big money offers from around the league. It wouldn’t make sense for him to stay. He’ll probably get a bigger offer somewhere else with more responsibility than with the Islanders.
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Seidenberg is still out there if there’s a team willing to give a player that looked well off the pace. When he originally came to the Islanders he was an instant success. Scoring goals and putting up points, but then age seemed to have caught up with him.
He’s a veteran presence with a Stanley Cup ring. Maybe that means something to another team, but it shouldn’t mean anything to the Islanders. Walk away.