So much yet to be determined this summer (is it draft time yet?), but with us talking about the 50-contract limit last week and the signing of David Ullstrom this week (but not, apparently, Jared Spurgeon), it's worth resetting the Islanders depth chart as it relates to known contracts for 2010-11. A moment to take a look at what birds are already in hand before we resume dreaming about which birds are in the bush.
Here's a quick-and-dirty pre-free agency view. In black are the players under contract for 2010-11 according to CapGeek. Players
shaded in gray [EDIT: in italics. Apologies, the autolinks eliminated my gray-text shading] are the restricted free agents who have the best shot at being retained. Otherwise, all free agents -- both restricted and unrestricted -- have been left off this list, to give us a clearer idea of the holes Garth Snow needs to fill.
It's safe to bet some of those will be filled with returnees -- perhaps a Meyer here, maybe a Park there -- but overall we're looking at a lot of additions in the form of real upgrades, depth signings, and graduating youth.
Don't pay too much attention to the order and positioning (perhaps picture Bailey resuming life on the wing, etc.), but the ones below the demarcations (----) can be considered for Bridgeport -- or, they have the longest shot at leaving training camp as NHLers.
Do pay attention to your assignments for addressing these holes, after the jump.
*Calvin de Haan, if he doesn't make the NHL club, must be returned to his junior squad; he can't play in the AHL yet.
I know there are a few there who you already want to be rid of. Well, these are the guys under contract (save for the RFAs shaded in gray) so casting them away is easier said than done.
Notable UFAs not depicted here include: Doug Weight, Richard Park, Jon Sim, Freddy Meyer, Martin Biron. One RFA I intentionally left off is Jeff Tambellini, because he's suffered enough and I'm just assuming the Islanders don't bring him back. However, I have been wrong (or flip-flopped) about Tambellini's future 15 times before, so...
1. Am I missing anyone? Do you have specific expectations for any of these guys? ("No way, Martin will make the team, Gillies will be on the two-way shuttle...")
2. Go ahead and play fantasy GM with this, from the perspective of the draft and free agency as well as dream trades. Just remember: If there are guys you want to trade here, keep in mind that the reason you want to get rid of them could be the same reason no one else would be interested.
3. The Defense: Most, including Garth Snow, agree the team is in need of blueline additions. We have our pet free agent targets, but one wild card is whether one of Hamonic, de Haan or even the #5 pick make the team. I'm not a fan of rushing any of the above, but it could happen.
4. The Wings: Left wing in particular is a rough place after Moulson. Let's here solutions. Here are some free agent forwards (if you mention the Russian last seen as a Devil, well, that's why we call this "fantasy" GM).
5. Goaltending: We still have a Rick DiPietro Insurance situation. If Mikko Koskinen had gotten a full season last year, this wouldn't be as much of a worry; but since he didn't ... are you comfortable with him being the third-in-line if/when DiPietro hits trouble, or are you expecting another veteran signing? [Update: As Hans und Frans points out in his FanShot and in comments, the Isles have extended an entry-level offer to Anders Nilsson, their second goalie pick from the 2009 draft.]
Scenarios: Some have suggested selling Schremp for wing help, but I'm not sure I would do that until I saw evidence that Bailey will be better at center than on the wing. ... Many have dreamed of Vochenkov, Hamhuis or Michalek to upgrade the D. ... The fate of Brendan Witt is unclear; perhaps he continues as a co-mentor with Mark Wotton in Bridgeport ... With all our young D-men in the pipeline I don't actually expect Reese to be retained, but he impressed me enough in his brief stint at the end of the year that I would be happy to see him back; he and Meyer were a good pair, and he was better than Gervais or Kohn.