Among the highlights:
Garth Snow quickly accepted (arbitration award) today. The absence of acrimony left the door open to future negotiations for a multi-year deal for Hunter, who has been described by Snow as “the quintessential Islander.”
“It’s a fair number for Trent,” Snow said of the arbitrator’s ruling, which fell short of Hunter’s request for $1.9 million. “We made a point not to attack Trent personally or professionally. We have a lot of respect for him. It wasn’t an ugly process.”
The Isles offered a variety of multi-year deals to Hunter prior to his arbitration hearing. “Garth and I tried to get a deal done,” said Brad Devine, Hunter’s agent. “It was one of those things where we couldn’t quite get there. But it was fine for both sides.”
Logan makes a lot of good points about several directions the club could take and understands Toronto's has to pay other clubs to unload McCabe's salary as I discussed the other day..
Among those highlights:
It would be easiest for Snow to go the free-agent route on defense by choosing among the likes of Danny Markov, Andy Sutton or Ossi Vaananen. But he’s determined not to overpay in money or length of contract for a player who might be solid but not necessarily a fit worth a major commitment.
Because the Isles would be doing Toronto a favor by taking on a major salary in McCabe, the Leafs would have to add ingredients to make it worthwhile. Snow wants to continue to replenish the farm system, and an extra No. 1 pick would help. Leafs center Matt Stajan, 23, reportedly is available and could be a pot sweetener in any deal, depending on which Islanders are sent to Toronto.
It’s unlikely Snow will bring in more than one veteran defenseman. He and coach Ted Nolan understand the need to let young defensemen Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais continue their development, and Snow already added veteran Aaron Johnson for depth at Bridgeport.
Adding firepower to a team that parted with Alexei Yashin and lost scorers Jason Blake, Ryan Smyth and Viktor Kozlov to free agency remains problematic. But there still are passable options among the leftover UFAs.
Michael Peca isn’t likely to return because injuries have diminished his ability to pile up points. The most intriguing option might be 32-year-old Jason Allison, who might provide the playmaking boost the Islanders need.
Carolina center Josef Vasicek, who showed a glimpse of his potential with 45 points in 2003-04, is a secondary option. It’s not out of the question the Islanders might even bring back Randy Robitaille,
It’s likely the Islanders still will be several million below the salary cap with as much payroll flexibility as any team in the NHL heading toward the next couple of seasons. It’s not a bad position to be in