Let the very early summer grades begin for Isles

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/04/2007 09:03:00 PM | | | | |
Kevin Greenstein of the very under rated NYSun checks in with the first review and grade of the Islanders summer to date here.

As always it is far better than the Post which never replaced Evan Grossman and instead gives us Devils beatwriter Mark Everson updates or the Times (rare Dave Caldwell updates) and Daily News. (rare Peter Botte updates)

Among the highlights:
But Snow was persistent with his pursuit of second-tier free agents, and as a result, the Isles' prospects for 2007–08 now look far better. He inked 36-year-old power forward Bill Guerin to a two-year, $9 million deal, and promptly bestowed the captaincy upon the respected veteran.

Snow also brought playmaking center Mike Comrie aboard, a move that could pay huge dividends. Comrie hasn't drawn rave reviews from teammates and management at his previous stops, but he has tremendous talent. Because he's playing on a one-year, $3.38 million contract — and for no-nonsense head coach Ted Nolan — it's probable that he'll be on his best behavior with the Isles, making this a very prudent signing.

Two gritty wingers, Ruslan Fedotenko and Jon Sim, were also added, and should fit right into Nolan's system. What the Isles lack in elite-level talent, they should make up in gumption and tenacity. Nolan's club will again be difficult to play against, and with only $35 million committed under the cap, they will have plenty of room to make a big splash via trade.

And of course, they will once again have top-notch netminder Rick DiPietro between the pipes. Last year at this time, Snow and the Isles were ridiculed for signing DiPietro to a 15-year, $67.5 million deal. But in the wake of this summer's spending spree, DiPietro's annual $4.5 million cap cost is shaping up to be one of the league's biggest bargains … just as we said it would be.

Snow has responded well to the myriad challenges he's faced since taking over as GM, and he's got the Isles in surprisingly good shape given the departures of Smyth, Blake, Poti, et al.

Off-Season Grade: B-