Editor's Note: Mark's weekly prospect update is in the Sunday a.m. thread. Here's a fun FanPost look forward at 2012 by John from ATL.
Most of the time when the year ends there are many stories looking back over the year giving best of lists or whatever. Being an Islander fan it's a lot easier just to look forward. I am of the belief that the Islanders are in year four of a five-year rebuild that should come to an end in the months after the 2012-13 season.
We can argue about what a completed rebuild means and if it is successful, but I don't think it's time to start that discussion. I thought I would give a list for the Islanders going forward.
A to-do list for Garth for calander year 2012:
1) UFAs currently on the roster: Should they be resigned?: (Frans Neilsen; P.A. Parenteau; Milan Jurcina; Dylan Reese, Al Montoya). The question here is for how long and for how much? I wouldn't sign anyone for more than three and would prefer two year deals but, would PA and Frans accept that? I would also like to see Frans and PA signed before the trade deadline. Garth should know by then if he can sign them for reasonable money and term. If not maybe a trade would be in order; But I'd like to see both of them back for next year at least.
Should Jurcina be resigned and if so would he accept another one year deal? Will Reese accept another one year two way deal? Can he get a better deal somewhere else? What type of deal should be offered to Montoya and would other clubs be interested in him?
2) The trade deadline: Can Brian Rolston, Marty Reasoner, Steve Staois, Evgeni Nabokov, Mark Eaton or Mike Mottau be traded? If so, can Garth get anything more than a 4th round pick? Nabokov is the real question here. It is clear the Isles need him for now, with Montoya out and that other goalie always injured. So, can the Isles afford to trade Nabokov? Snow needs to start thinking about who's the goalie for next year and who's the backup because "what's his name" can't even be counted on to be the #2.
3) ELCs: Garth needs to determine if Brock Nelson and Andres Lee intend to return to college next year, If not he needs to get them signed and playing in Bridgeport. He also needs to get Kirill Petrov signed and in North America for training camp. From what I've read Brenden Kichton also looks to turn pro. Along with Kirill Kabanov this could be five players to add to training camp and probable a big boost to next years Sound Tigers team.
4) RFAs: (Mark Katic; Matt Martin; Micheal Haley) The Isles should look to sign all three. I would think it's a good time to lock up Matt Martin for at least three years and cover some of his arbitration years. Katic sounds like he'll be healthy and back before this seasons up. His return would be the additional defensive depth the team will need next year once Staois, Eaton and Mottau are all gone (We hope).
5) The draft: Sad to say but even with the victories over Calgary and Edmonton it looks like another high draft pick. Way to early to predict where the Isles will pick but, it may be somewhere between 3rd and 8th. If they're not making the playoffs it would be nice to add (Yakupov; Grigorenko; Forsberg; Murray; Dumba; Trouba; Reilly; Galchenyuk or ?) Whoever it is it should be a good player. At this point, if the Isles pick somewhere 4 to 7; I would think Yakupov, Grigorenko and Forsberg would be off the board and the Isles should select a defenseman.
6) UFA: Ryan Suter!; Suter!; Suter!. Garth, say it with me, that's Ryan Suter. Overpay in $ and term. Well, it won't happen but its nice to think about. Garth needs to make something happen here and bring in a legitimate defenseman. I fear this will fail again and there will be another Steve Staois training camp invitee. This is where Garth needs to roll up his sleeves and figure out the Isles top six defenseman going into training camp. Streit, Hamonic, MacDonald, ?; ? and ?. Is deHaan ready? Is there a Dman other than Suter willing to come to Long Island and help out the kids? Garth may also need to look for a goalie; if Montoya can't be signed.
7) Rookie Camp: Come see the Isles new toys from the 2012 draft. Will Petrov be signed and here? Does Strome look ready for more? Is it clear that the teams first round pick is not ready and needs to return to Jrs or college? From what I've read Forsberg and Ryan Murray are the most NHL ready. Murray is only 2 months younger than Strome.
8) 2012 Training Camp: Garth confirmed camp will again be held on Long Island, which is good news. Hopefully, Strome Kabanov, Petrov, Lee, Nelson, de Haan and Poulin look good and make the present roster guys nervous about their job security. Will P.A. Parenteau be back or will another team be willing to offer more money or more years than Garth? Is Strome ready and if so, who are the Isles four centers? Can Isles waive or trade Reasoner? Does Strome play wing? Is Nino ready for another try on the top line with JT and Moulson? Who are the Isles two goalies going into next season? Is Montoya back? Should the Isles put that old, injuried goalie through waivers and play him in Bridgeport until he can prove he can stay healthy and have a save % over .900 and GA under 3.00? Can the Isles reach the salary cap floor without Rolston?
Should be an interesting 2012. Go Isles!!!! Happy New Year.