The Ones Who Walk Away: Ex-Islanders on the Move

Oh, I remember those guys.

You've digested the additions of Lubomir Visnovsky and Matt Carkner to the 2012-13 New York Islanders blueline. (And somewhere inside the blueline but not "on the blueline," Eric Boulton will apparently wear #36. So there's that.)

Where have the guys they're replacing gone? Much like Chris Campoli this summer: Nowhere yet.

Milan Jurcina, Mark Eaton and the departed Mike Mottau remain unsigned. (In fact, the 40 highest-paid remaining unrestrictred free agents is a list littered with ex-Islanders defensemen, which just might be a sign that the cap floor forces teams to pay very average defensemen very obscene salaries.)

Here is a look at where some recent Islanders have wandered off to, as well as some who are still wandering.

Steve Staios: To a "hockey ops" role with the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the learning.

Dylan Reese: Many of us penciled Reese in as the incumbent Isles 6 or 7 D-man next year, but after giving the Isles official site a tour of his hometown at the draft, he decided he missed it so much he'd sign with the Penguins. More seriously, he liked the opportunity with the Penguins, figuring he could fit their system and could really dig that winning environment.

(Speaking of the Pens, also signing a two-way deal with them: Trevor Smith.)

Mark Katic: After a tough injury sabotaged a pivotal year in his young career, Katic's headed to Germany, where he ist Berliner, aber nicht ein Berliner.

Radek Martinek: After all the joint and bone injuries he's had, it was a concussion that ruined his season in Columbus. Reports are he still wants to play, but will have to wait on that late summer last-chance market like a lot of these guys.

Steve Oleksy: So the, um, babe who will steal your heart went from an ECHL tryout to an AHL contract to finish out last year in Bridgeport. That got him an AHL contract with the Hershey Bears, where he was fourth on a "we signed these guys" release.

Chris Campoli: It's been a while since the bait for a first-round pick was an Isle, but he's on that list of millionaire free agent defensemen so let's check in. After the Blackhawks walked away from his arbitration award last summer, Campoli only saw 43 games with Montreal last season, also hindered by injuries. Still unsigned, he wasn't offered a new contract by the Hockey Club from Montreal and has entered the "journeyman" category.

Bruno Gervais: Once inseparable (by association) from Campoli since they rose to the NHL together, Gervais signed in Philadelphia along with fellow ex-Islander Ruslan Fedotenko, joining everyone's favorite Pennsylvania Turtle.

Forwards on the Move

And then there are the forwards whose moves are still fresh:

Justin DiBenedetto: Off to Grabner country, signing with Salzburg. Those Mozart chocolates are the bomb. Love me some Mozartkugel.

P.A. Parenteau: Off to mile high country, where if we're lucky he'll provide a new twist on the Tavares vs. Duchene "debate." Four years and $16 million is a fine payoff for a man who made the NHL the hard way.

Rhett Rakhshani: Sweden shall now smell what the Rakh is cooking, as he essentially swaps spots at HV71 with returning Islander Jesse Joensuu.

Trevor Gillies: Russia-bound, to join the KHL's Broad Street Bully squad trapped in a Russian uni, Vityaz Chekhov.

Micheal Haley: The Rangers have rewarded Haley for chasing Sean Avery into oblivion by giving him a two-way deal. Hey, maybe now he and Boulton can cancel each other!

John Grahame: Signed to finish out the final 10 days or so of last season as emergency backup after Evgeni Nabokov and Anders Nilsson were both hurt, one assumes Grahame will return to coaching. One assumes.

Where Will the Old D-Men Land?

New, minor deals continue to trickle in via free agency -- most of them insignificant, as the Rangers addition of depth guy Jeff Halpern is the news of the day.

Plenty of teams, including even the Red Wings, remain below the roughly $54.2 million cap floor for next season. Some teams won't be worried about that floor, but I suspect others and the low-hanging free agents they've yet to sign will be watching the direction of CBA negotiations to figure out what the financial landscape will be once the season starts. Will be interesting where, if anywhere, the unsigned ex-Isles find work.

For the Isles, you have to figure there will be no Mottaus, no Staios's in late summer (barring some catastrophic injury...but those never happen). The third-pair guys we will be living and dying with next season include Carkner and whichever guys in the battle for promotion from Bridgeport.

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