A little less than a month now until camp opens, so a blog entry with a some speculation.
Seven defenders on one-way contracts without deHaan, Hamonic, Kohn, Reese, Katic, Klementyev, DeHart, among others not included in that mix.
Garth Snow obviously cannot add a defender to Streit, Martinek, MacDonald, Hillen, Wisniewski, Gervais and Jurcina now without some kind of trade or series of injuries.
A healthy Willie Mitchell sounds great to sign if healthy. Who is Garth Snow going to buyout because other teams can read depth charts just like the fans, they are not going to offer anything of value to help Snow clear a spot.
You don't buyout someone with Radek Martinek's talent nor do you give him away for anything but return equal at his best, which is on a level with Kenny Jonsson when he was at his best.
Upfront seems room at best for one forward spot (likely right wing) and no place for Josh Bailey at his natural position without a trade. Obviously Snow needs one veteran scorer, but that answer may not come until he sees how PA Parenteau actually looks vs Nino Niederreiter or Kirill Kabanov/Petrov or other players.
After Moulson last year, count out no one. The answer could come from Justin DiBenedetto, it could come from a journeyman player.
Only the Islanders know when a Doug Weight signing will be official.
My speculation? Expect someone from Joensuu, Figren, Ullstrom, Martin or especially Rhett Rakhshani to make a serious run at a spot. This is the third year of Joensuu, Figren and Marcinko contracts so pressure is on for them to take a step up after time/investment has been made on them.
Rhett Rakhshani is not an eighteen year old player, this is a player in college circles that has gotten great reviews over four years, who stayed in school and is regarded by many to have NHL level ability. It would not shock me at all to see him win a spot in the Islanders lineup out of camp.
Again unless a player comes via trade up front, this could come down to the end of camp if they have to go outside the organization.
One thing the Islanders cannot do is put themselves in a position where they have too many players, teams are not trading/signing many UFA right now, some agents/players no doubt are getting a little anxious. Players all around the NHL general managers cannot give away or waive.
Why is Lee Stempniak still on the market? Because despite his fourteen goals in Phoenix his career numbers do not lie, even if he signed here today.
Raffi Torres? Because despite his nineteen goals last year, he is a career thirty point player on average and 05-06 was a long time ago.
Paul Kariya, Guerin, Satan (insert veteran) these are support players who need others to get them the puck, the exact opposite of what the young players need here.
Are they a better option then Jon Sim if he is on this roster? Absolutely.
All due respect to Sim, but if he makes the Islanders that is simply based on a failure of some young players stepping up to earn a spot. This is the same Jon Sim who had more goals than Trent Hunter and Frans Nielsen last season.
I have no idea if Garth Snow is going to move anyone. If I had to speculate I would believe Martinek, Gervais and Trent Hunter would be those players. Frans Nielsen is absolutely someone who can be moved in the right circumstances. Rob Schremp could be moved, but after waivers a year ago, he still has too much to do at this level to have real return value.
Look at the market and where Freddy Meyer fits the Thrashers depth chart, despite how solid he was for very long stretches here?
In goal, with or without Rick DiPietro (seems going into camp with) they have more than enough goaltending depth.
Either way the countdown begins for the start of 2010-11 for the New York Islanders season.
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