For New York What's The Right Defender To Spend On?

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/13/2012 07:49:00 PM |
As seen with Tomas Kaberle, James Wisniewski, and most UFA defenders, the production usually never lives up to the contract, especially when front-loaded.

Then there is Florida giving an over-35 contract to Ed Jovanovski (guaranteed money) sixteen million over four years.

The over 35 rule states that if a player signs a multi-year deal when the player is 35 or older, starting in the second year of the contract, that amount will count towards the team's salary cap regardless of whether the player is on the active roster or not. This is designed to keep teams from signing older players to lucrative front-loaded contracts, thus saving cap room, in which there is no expectation the player will actually play in the latter years.

This begs the question what's the right player to spend your money on in UFA?
1. Many UFA are players their former team cannot pay, do not want back at any price or have overpriced themselves for that franchise.
2. Many UFA are players frankly who played themselves off their former team.
3. Many UFA are players who have very limited options. 
4. The one or two top defenders will require front-loaded money (see Wisniewski) and not a smart option.

In other words give me the James Wisniewski who made three million here, not the one who signed for ten years massively front-loaded in Columbus. 

So What's The Answer For New York? 
Stick to the plan of developing. 

Boring answer but that's the best long-term guarantee of success. 

On defense this team has spent time and money on Ness, Donovan, deHaan, Wishart, Katic, along with their draft picks. Some of these players need their chance as MacDonald and Hamonic have received.

This blog has criticized Wishart not having a spot here from day one a year ago. 

This defense desperately needs size, scoring, skating, and physical players, a big part of this has to happen from within. 

Signing a mid-20's UFA defender from another organization may help or backfire, a trade for a quality defender means someone has to go of equal risk/value. Obviously signing the next Staios, Eaton, Jurcina or Mottau are not going to improve things because at best you carry one of them for depth.

The move to let go of Jack Hillen was a mistake that backfired based on who took his minutes here, that's the kind of mid-20's defender who may be worth a risk but Hillen's production was down in Nashville, and two goals does not give Mark Streit extra room to work with on a powerplay. 

Bottom line if there was an easy answer last years conference final's runner up would not have signed Bruno Gervais, MA Bergeron, then Matt Gilroy to improve their defense. Look at former Islander Andy Sutton, and the journey he has taken to be resigned in Edmonton?

Carolina's gm admitted a mistake in Kaberle.

No team signed Bryan McCabe.

Mike Komisarek looks like a nice local story until you see why he's struggled so badly for years, and why Monteal never looked back, while Toronto likely regrets his contact. 

There is no easy answer. 
I wish to clarify from my last entry that Charles Wang in 2009 saying the Isles watch every penny in operating the franchise should in no way translate to Garth Snow's comments about having no  restrictions on spending if he feels the right player is there to improve the team as Snow has maintained many times.

This blog immediately criticized Snow for using the rebuilding word on 2/3/2012 here , he will be given no pass here if not consistent with his words.

As seen with the offer Christian Ehrhoff, received last summer from the Islanders, which he praised at his press conference, the Isles (as all teams do) have a top number with where they want to go with a contract.

I found the old transcript here, but did not tag it well, so I re-posted the entire interview.