Remember the days we used to sign UFA? Not

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/12/2008 09:13:00 PM |
I always find it funny reading all these folks in the media write no one wants to sign with New York despite all the quality veterans that have signed the last three years.

I though we should take a quick look back at how much better we used to do in UFA........NOT

No one even talked about the building in those days.
Wednesday, July 3 2003
Associated Press

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars on Wednesday signed free-agent right wing
Bill Guerin to a five-year deal.

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the deal was worth $45
million, deferring $4.5 million after the contract has expired. The
Boston Globe reported earlier this week that the Bruins made a last-
ditch effort to sign their star player with a two-year deal worth $18
million and Guerin turned it down.
Islanders Acquire Wiemer for Mezei
Gritty, Talented Young Winger Comes to LI
By Kerry Gwydir

(July 3) The Islanders continued the trend of adding grit, toughness
and talent this summer by acquiring center Jason Wiemer from the
Florida Panthers on Wednesday for defensive prospect Branislav Mezei.

"Jason is one of the toughest and hardest-working players in the
game," said Islanders general manager Mike Milbury. "We looked to
improve our team toughness this season and we have definitely done
that with young players like Wiemer, Arron Asham and Eric Godard.

"We also believe Wiemer is an excellent leader and two-way forward
who can play a lot of roles until Mike Peca returns to the lineup. We
will miss Branislav Mezei and we're completely confident that he's
going to be an excellent NHL defenseman, but this is a trade that
makes us better today and for years to come."

Along with the Draft Weekend additions of RW Arron Asham from
Montreal and RW Eric Godard from the Panthers, the Islanders have
addressed their desire to improve the club's size and toughness at
forward. Although he loved Mezei, Islanders head coach Peter
Laviolette is very happy about the deal.

"I've always liked the way Jason Wiemer plays the game," said
Laviolette. "He always goes with his heart first. He's always been a
very competitive guy that you want on your team in the heat of
battle. It's unfortunate to see Branislav go. He is going to be a
good player. But in order to get a good asset, you have to give up
something that has value."

Wiemer, a former 1994 first-round draft choice of the Tampa Bay
Lightning, is a tough-as-nails customer who established career highs
last season for assists (20), points (31), and PIM (178) while
popping home 11 goals. He notched a career-high with three assists on
Feb. 4 in a wild 6-6 tie vs. the Islanders.

"I'm excited to be a part of a winning team that also has such a
winning tradition," said Wiemer. "The moves ownership and the hockey
staff have made over the last year have turned the franchise around.
To go to battle with this team is going to be a lot of fun."

Although he is just 26-years old, Wiemer is a grizzled veteran at the
NHL level and played in his 500th NHL game on Feb. 7 at Tampa Bay.
The center broke into the NHL as an 18-year old with the Bolts during
the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. There's no doubting the type of
character Wiemer brings to Long Island as a player who sticks up for
his teammates when the situation arises.

"I never enjoyed playing against him, so I'm sure I'll enjoy playing
with him," said Adrian Aucoin. "Wiemer is one of those players that
can do it all. He's gritty, he can score. I think Mez has a huge
upside. But when you want to improve now, you have to give to get a
player of Wiemer's caliber."

Said Dave Scatchard, who played junior with Wiemer in Portland of the
WHL: "Jason's a big, strong power forward that can do a little bit of
everything. He is a physical player that can use his body to change a
game around. He has good hands for a big guy and can drop the gloves
when the time comes."

In his last six seasons in the NHL, the 6-1, 225-pounder has managed
to accumulate at least 120 penalty minutes per season, including 355
combined in the past two seasons. His 168 hits on the Panthers in
2001-02 was fourth-best for Florida.

There's no doubt the Islanders' first-round playoff series vs. the
Toronto Maple Leafs that came to be known as a "War of Attrition"
demonstrated the Isles' need to improve its overall "bang" up front.
With Darcy Tucker taking out Mike Peca's knee and Gary Roberts
ramming Kenny Jonsson's head into the endboards in Game 5, General
Manager Mike Milbury sensed a need in the bulk department.

"As much as we'll miss Brano, Wiemer makes us a better and tougher
team," said Garth Snow. "He adds a lot of toughness and grit that is
a must on any winning team. You look at the Toronto series and the
way it transpired. I think that's a series Jason would have thrived

With Peca out first approximately the first half of the season while
recovering from knee and shoulder surgeries, Wiemer also is expected
to provide plenty of leadership for the Islanders as he's been an
assistant captain with Florida, the Calgary Flames and the Lightning.
In fact, Wiemer was named an assistant captain with the Bolts in just
his third season in the NHL as a 20-year old.

"Jason's been in the league for a long time. Particularly as young as
he is, it's a great addition," said Scatchard. "He knows what this
league is all about. From the number of years he's played in the NHL,
he's going to add leadership to the locker room."

And a mean edge. Wiemer was suspended seven games for butt-ending
Toronto's Darcy Tucker on Nov. 19, 2001 in Toronto. He also came
under some fire for proclaiming that he was going to pay back Darius
Kasparaitis for some of the new Rangers' questionable hits against
Wiemer's teammates.

It seems like destiny that Wiemer would become an Islander.

July 5, 2002 -- You've got to hand it to Islander fans. They will be

While NHL managers and agents have been hitting the phones this week
hard with the opening of the free-agent market, those making the most
noise may be the populace of Islander Country.

This past week, die-hard Isles fans have been calling and faxing the
Kingston, Ontario, office of Mike Gillis, Tony Amonte's agent.

They've been pitching the unrestricted's handlers the idea of playing
for the Isles with written and verbal fantasies on what the elite
right wing's presence could do for their beloved team. They've been
saying how his addition could boost the Isles to the next level a
season after dropping out of the first round of the playoffs and what
a great place Long Island is to live.

"It's flattering," Gillis told The Post yesterday.

Gillis said that he's conveyed the unique pleas to his client, who
continues to interest the Isles, as well as teams like the free-
spending Rangers, Stars, Sharks and the now-hated Leafs.

Isles fans, who have bought 11,000 season tickets for next year, have
never been ones to shy away from getting involved, turning the
Coliseum into one of the most electric cauldrons in the NHL.

Just last year they sparked Theo Fleury into flipping out and
flipping them off, which got the Rangers winger fined.

In the playoffs, fans surrounding the penalty box goaded Darcy Tucker
into shooting water at them.

Now, it appears, they are bringing a new dynamic to luring elite free
agents to consider their team.