I do not believe this is the New York Islanders biggest summer in years, but like every summer it is important.
Having written this general manager Garth Snow, is in a position where he has some roster/limited cap flexibility, and frankly some players he can continue with or move on from, and is at a cross roads.
Let's also be clear with Alexi Yashin's big cap hit next summer (4.75m) and the chance of DiPietro again not playing at 4.5m, that's close to ten million in cap space already used. This does not include a possible buyout of Brendan Witt or possible bonus money to Tavares, Okposo, Bailey.
It is to a point where we need to see if this gm can pull off a transaction that improves this club next season in terms of winning hockey games, knowing full well the decisions on Mark Streit, Dwayne Roloson and Matt Moulson, along with Andrew MacDonald, and Jack Hillen were outstanding.
Fair to write, Ryan Jankowski's reflections about drafting high next summer speak for themselves about expectations next year.
I'm not writing about a huge trade where Garth Snow gives up his first draft pick, two other first rounders like the Ryan Smyth trade, but a trade where he can take advantage of a club that may need to make a trade with cap issues and fill a need.
I'm obviously not writing about Weight, Park, Jackman or the current UFA who most likely will go into 7/1 without a contract, but Sean Bergenheim, Jeff Tambellini, Rob Schremp, Trent Hunter, Frans Nielsen or Blake Comeau, which includes Bruno Gervais, and Brendan Witt.
This also extends to Jesse Joensuu, Robin Figren, Tomas Marcinko in the right circumstances.
If Ottawa wants to move on from Jason Spezza, as long as the price is not a first rounder or includes, Tavares, Bailey, Okposo, everyone listed above should be on the table with second rounders.
Sure, there are twenty other clubs that can write the exact same thing, and may have better players/packages to offer.
There is also no flat guarantee Dwayne Roloson will want to continue playing hockey approaching age forty one, regardless of Rick DiPietro's future playing status.
As for the spending, I have written it countless times.
Charles Wang and most NHL owners cannot afford a front-loaded contract because of the huge short-term financial price. That is the ONLY thing preventing a top free agent from signing with about twenty five plus clubs, including this one to go with cost of living here + taxes.
If Mr Wang were willing (not feasible) to give someone fifty million dollars w/twenty million paid the first two years, they would not care what the Coliseum looked like. Same as buildings that are frankly dumps like Msg, Pittsburgh, Detroit or Edmonton. Players saw what happened during last lockout, they want their money in hand, and that plays a huge part in where they sign.
No star player signs anywhere without a front-loaded contract now.
Even Jason Blake got some of his money front-loaded, this is why players who get the bulk of the money early are traded. Colorado paid the bulk of Ryan Smyth's contact, Cablevision the bulk of Scott Gomez deal.
It'a another area Garth Snow can look at, but that's usually a larger risk, those players are available because they have struggled and are not the right fit.
As for Garth Snow's team needs? Everything. Size, speed, offensive skill, scoring, and toughness have to continue be developed or brought in, with a dramatic upgrade in third period play, and special teams performance.
I have written in the past on Snow-Gordon working relationship. After the Boston game the coach was outspoken about the teams size on defense, the coach played Nate Thompson over several players, Garth Snow put him on waivers. Having written this we have no idea what happens behind closed doors in terms of how decisions are made.
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