New York Islanders Metropolitan Division Free Agency Power Rankings
New York Islanders
Ins: Semyon Varlamov,
Outs: Valtteri Filppula, Robin Lehner
It was a swing and a miss for the New York Islanders in free agency. They gave it everything they could to sign free agency Artemi Panarin, but they just couldn’t close the deal.
The Islanders attempt to sign Artemi Panarin reminds me of Charlie Brown whiffing on the football.
The Islanders had put themselves in a good position to land Artemi Panarin. They gave him a great deal with an enticing AAV. It was a bold move, one that certainly put them in a vulnerable position. Other teams could come in and usurp their offer.
And that’s what happened with the Rangers who signed Panarin for less money. That’s the metaphorical equivalent of Lucy pulling the football and Charlie Brown flying through the air realizing he’d been dupped, again.
If that weren’t bad enough, the Islanders then decided to play hardball with Vezina finalist Robin Lehner. When Lehner took his time to contemplate his offer from the Isles, they went out and picked up Semyon Varlamov.
Varlamov is a good goalie. He has a career 2.68GAA and 0.916SV%. Robin Lehner is a 2.70GAA and 0.918SV% goalie over his career. Varlamov is not a better keeper than Lehner. At best, Varlamov is a lateral move for the Isles between the crease.
For a team that relied so havily on solid goaltending to win games last season, why play hardball with your start goalie only to bring in a worse option? On a similar AAV!
Lehner signed for a single year worth $5 million with the Blackhawks, the New York Islanders gave Varlamov a four-year deal worth $20 million ($5 million AAV). Why did they do that?
That coupled with the loss of their center depth with the departure of Valterri Filppula, the Islanders got worse on paper.