Friday Night the Islanders came to terms with Unrestricted Free Agent Andy Sutton on three year contract for nine million
“Andy adds a little bit of everything both on offense and defense and we really like what he brings to the table,” said Islanders head coach Ted Nolan. “We talk about heart, grit and character and Andy Sutton has a ton of it all. He’s a big guy who plays big and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work. He fills a big void for us and our fans are going to love to watch him in an Islanders uniform because he’s a competitor and hard worker.”
“We’re very pleased to bring Andy Sutton to Long Island on a long-term deal,” said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. “He fits the personality of the team Ted and I are putting together.”
Greg Logan broke the story earlier in his newsway blog here and his Friday Night/Saturday Morning article that includes an update on other potential UFA signings Sutton's contract details.
Sutton received a significant raise over the $2 million he made last season with the Thrashers, but Snow said he and coach Ted Nolan agreed on the need for a player capable of providing a physical presence in front of goaltender Rick DiPietro. "We wanted a player we can commit to," Snow said.
Snow likely will focus on strengthening the center position within the next week. Carolina free agent Josef Vasicek is a prime target, but the Islanders also have investigated free agents Jason Allison and Peter Forsberg. However, Forsberg has not recovered fully from his foot problems and might not be healthy enough to sign until sometime during the season.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
I personally wanted Markov and feel the Isles settled for the second best option.
Three years is too much for an avg/improving defender in Sutton with injury issues, maybe I'm wrong or that's the market.
Markov knows how to win and would have done more things to lead a defense, apparently it could not get done so Snow turned to Sutton, who has had some good stretches, but also some poor defensive stretches.
Bottom line is Sutton was signed to replace Hill, who's physical play and solid defense was dominating at times. We'll have to see if Sutton can raise his game to an even higher level. Biggest early question is can Sutton reduce the penalty numbers Hill took last season from a club with the second highest disparity in pp's to pk last season in the negative nineties, can he stay healthy?
Good news is Sutton despite playing in only 55 games last season, ranked 19th in the NHL in blocked shots with 162. In 2005-06, he was fourth in the league with 195 blocks as mentioned in thisSI Article and is not shy about getting physical. Isles also bring in a much younger defender than Hill and helps out Simon who seemed on paper to be the club's only enforcer.
We'll see what happens, but trading their prospects or Hunter/Bergenheim was not the answer, they had to go UFA here.
From all indications expect another signing of a forward. I have no problem loading up and adding Markov anyway and putting Meyer on the block, but that's likely not going to happen as we have eight NHL defenders and a lot of Bridgeport depth signings of defenders with NHL experience. Isles may very well have to puck Poti's puck-handling abilities in a Gervais or Campoli next season.
NYI NHL depth chart:
Johnson-61 games with Columbus last season.