This time of year always bring a few surprises like Trevor Smith being signed April 2, 2007. Sean Bentovoglio was a later signing that same year in May so I'll keep an eye out.
Prospects blog feeder usually catches this information. Not sure many of you found the prospect blog for NYIFC but I think those who do will find it one of the best updated anywhere with information here where you can get local coverage or team information on every prospect in the organization.
No doubt the Matt Gilroy watch picks up steam as he just won the Walter Brown award Patriot News with most NHL teams rumored to be looking into signing the UFA free agent defenseman who has no cap on his contract because of his age and is in the mix for the Hobey Baker.
New York Islanders:
For the New York Islanders we have a season to close out (hopefully with a few wins and no more injuries) and some playoffs after two years for the team in Bridgeport where there is a fair chance they can go far this spring.
Tragic number for finishing with worst record/primary lottery spot is down to nine which means combined wins/ot/shootout points gained or lost by Islanders, Tampa or Colorado who controls tie-breaker (lead by seven wins) so you can add a point to their record despite them leading the Isles by eight points currently.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers:
Isles are sending Blake Comeau, who's the only regular with Jack Hillen and Mike Iggulden but this team at the start will not have Kyle Okposo. Jeff Tambellini would have to clear waivers as well as Frans Nielsen and were not on Bridgeport's clear day list here.
Josh Bailey is not eligible to play for Bridgeport so this team will not have a heavy Islander flavor beyond some spot callups like Joe Callahan, Jesse Joensuu, Andrew MacDonald and a few others.
The clock is also ticking on the 6/1 deadline to resign 2007 draft prospects from CHL such as Mark Katic or they can re-enter the draft. There has been no resolution with the IHL on European prospects on a transfer agreement so there is still no Stefan Ridderwall deadline or anyone else from that league.
I guess that includes the KHL for their veteran league.
Most of the Isles college prospects are not graduating this summer, some could be signed and enter the organization but for now whoever stays in school is not required to be tendered a contract.
Of course there is always a Rob Hennigar or Joel Rechlicz prospect in the mix.
NHL Draft/Free Agency/Roster Speculation:
Obviously the Isles are going to stock up big time again in this draft.
Free agency like last summer it's not just about the money or reaching the cap floor but to create room to fit a player on your roster.
If John Tavares were drafted here with Nielsen and Josh Bailey a first line center cannot be signed or you have to place them on the fourth line with Park-Jackman signed for next year
I suspect Weight's return depends on if the Isles win the right to draft Tavares or not.
With Bergenheim, Tambellini, Comeau what left wing do you want to kick off the team to sign a first line left winger? We did this last year and had our poll and managements actions reflected our poll on who would play where. All of them were benched or played on a fourth line or sent down, Jon Sim was waived twice before being demoted and has a year to go on his contract.
First line right wing (Bill Guerin's spot) is the only spot in play (Okposo-Hunter-Jackman) with Garth Snow needing to find someone who can fill the scoring with a franchise player or someone with NHL scoring ability.
Defense is locked tight folks with Witt, Sutton, Martinek, Gervais, Meyer and Mark Streit all signed for next year with Jack Hillen unrestricted. Anyone talking drafting Hedman, signing Mike Komisarek or even Gilroy has to make a trade for any of them to play here.
It's not just about signing players, rosters spots have to be created first.
I suspect Garth Snow has a trade or two to make.
Still waiting on an official lottery date. I have not made any final decisions for a closing date for this blog right now partially because I'm waiting on the lottery.
Bad news is looks like 3/31 or 4/1 coverage with Caps game will be missed here entirely.
Still, it will be a fun ride to the end.