Due to it being the offseason, I decided to try and work out what I would want to happen this summer to give us the best chance to win next season and hopefully return to the playoffs. Please feel free to leave comments, good or bad as to what you would do different, change or do the same. Thanks.
Re-sign RFA: de Haan - 7 year $3,000,000 per, Lee - $1,750,000 RFA bridge deal, Donovan - $1,000,000 RFA bridge deal, Cizikas $1,500,000 RFA bridge deal.
Re-sign UFA: Halak - 5 year deal $5,000,000 per, Nabby - 1 year $1,500,000
Trades: Trade Josh Bailey to any team for a draft pick or pick(s)
Free agent signings: Vrbata - 4 year deal at $5,000,000 per, Boyle - 2 year deal at $4,500,000
Islanders Roster (using Capgeek.com):
The idea with the Islanders moves and signings with the cap seemingly going down to $70m or $69m due to the Candian Dollar. I traded Bailey to get his long term salary and low production off the team and mentally it made the idea of giving Vrbata a big deal easier to stomach because essentially your upgrading Bailey at the cost of less than $2m to be a big upgrade on the wing instead of Bailey.
I decided to give de Haan a long term deal which includes some UFA years because I believe he is going to be a top 2 defensemen for a long time for the Islanders. So instead of giving him a bridge deal like all the other RFA I decided to go the long term route because if we gave him a bridge deal, my big fear would be the size of deal it would take to re-sign de Haan long term after he showcases his ability in the NHL for the next few years.
Signing Boyle on a short term big money deal to help give short term help to the team right now and so there is no reason what so ever to force youngsters into the NHL on the blue line until they are absolutely ready to play. Strait was placed on waivers to allow Donovan to be our #7 guy who can step in for anyone playing badly so players are accountable.
Halak signed long term is an obvious one but I decided to bring Nabby back on a 1 year deal as a backup because the players love him and I believe he could do a good job as backup. For the 2015/16 season and the move to Brooklyn I would bring over Koskinen to back up Halak as his performances in the KHL have been great but he is now backing those performances up with great displays for Finland. By the time we hit Brooklyn I believe Koskinen will be ready for a backup role.
I was completely comfortable signing the likes of Boyle and Vrbata because Boyle and Visnovsky, who are both on big money, are short term deals with nearly $10m coming off the cap when they leave in the next year or 2 allowing for the blue line prospects to come up and the Islanders to re-sign our core players easily.
I want the super Swedes playing top line minutes in Bridgeport, especially as Sundstrom and Collberg have played together in Sweden and for the Swedish junior teams. Halmo would also be someone of interest in Bridgeport.
On the blue line is where things get really interesting. Outstanding prospects of every description who have bundles of talent. I believe a defensive core of these six all have a real chance of a future in the NHL, if that's with us or not I don't know but one thing is for sure, our Bridgeport blue line is brimming with potential. Wouldn't surprise me if at least one of these guys looks fantastic in Bridgport and makes the NHL roster by the end of the season.
But more importantly, having six guys with this much potential sitting in Bridgeport gives the Islanders much more depth in case of an injury. At the start of the season if something was to happen to one of our defensive starters we would have youngsters capable of making the jump. Big difference in depth from next season onwards.
2014 NHL Draft
1st, 5th: Michael Dal Colle (CAN), LW, Oshawa (OHL), 6'2, 179lbs.
1st, 16th (trade): Alex Tuch (USA), C/RW, Boston College (NCAA), 6'3, 216lbs.
2nd, 52th: Alex Nedeljkovic (USA), G, Plymouth (OHL), 6'0, 185lbs.
3rd, 76th (trade): Vladislav Kamenev (RUS), C, Metallurg (KHL), 6'2, 205lbs.
3rd, 77th: Juho Lammikko (FIN), LW, Ässät (Liiga), 6'2, 190lbs.
4th, 107th: Oskar Lindblom (SWE), LW/RW, Brynäs (SHL), 6'2, 187lbs.
6th, 155th: Louis Belpedio (USA), D, Miami Uni (NCAA), 5'10, 192lbs.
7th, 185th: Axel Holmström (SWE), C, Skellefteå (SHL), 6'0, 196lbs.
Draft Day Trade: Isles see Tuch falling in the first so the Islanders trade Islanders 2nd round pick (35th overall), Islanders 3rd round pick (65th overall), Islanders 4th round pick (95th overall) for the Columbus 1st & 3rd round pick (16th overall & 76th overall).
(Side Note: Kasperi Kapanen is another who could fall and he would be worth trading up to the mid 1st round to select other than Tuch)
Reasoning behind these picks. Michael Dal Colle is an exceptional talent who I believe is the best bet to reproduce his play in the OHL in the NHL. Has a big frame and will add muscle to it but as a player, Dal Colle has an exception shot/release while being a good skater (room to grow there) and able to create for others. If Dal Colle is available at 5, I would be very happy to select MDC as our new elite prospect going forward.
The Islanders move back into the 1st round when they see Alex Tuch start to fall slightly by making a trade to go get the 16th overall pick. Tuch is a big power winger who skates well with strong balance. He typically is called upon to be the meat and potatoes guy on a skilled line and does so very effectively. Impressive fore-checker. Uses his frame to protect the puck and physically supporting his linemates. Didn't stand out much during the USA's u18 gold medal run at the World Championships but he did the dirty work with imposing size. Islanders pick another big power forward.
Nedeljkovic would be the 3rd goalie taken overall after Demko is selected 19th overall by the Wild. Best goalie on the board when the Isles select at the mid-end of the 2nd round so went with Nedeljkovic.
Vladislav Kamenev is the Russian u18 captain and a really good player. Obvious problems being Russian and playing in the KHL but I'd gladly draft the kid and hope to entice him to North America to play sooner or later. Real size, skill and works the boards really well with big upside. Due to the KHL factor he falls to mid-late 3rd round. Great player who is only falling due to being Russian with the KHL factor. The Islanders decide to take a flyer on him.
Juho Lammikko has had a very good u18 tournament with Finland and has real size with good skills, so with him still available early in the 4th I selected Lammikko. Again, the Islanders select a huge winger with big upside.
Oskar Lindblom has real size and skills, while also having chemistry with the 7th round selection Axel Holmström, who was the 1st line center for Sweden u18's. The thinking is bringing in an electric line for Sweden with the hope they develop with the Islanders over time without the star Nylander with them but definitely worth a bet with mid-late round picks. Due to Nylanders great World Cup play Lindblom and Holmström have tended to be overshadowed but could be gems late in the draft.
Louis Belpedio has looked really smooth and a good puck moving d man with good potential. Ranked as the 107 North American skater in the final rankings, Belpedio was still on the board when the Isles selected at 155 so Louis Belpedio is the selection with the 6th round pick. Small defensemen but a player who is a top skater so selecting him in the 6th is a steal.
So as you can see, I went for all 6 foot or bigger forwards with skill to help build more talent in our forward prospect pool long term. This sort of draft would make our prospect pool very deep at every position with the exception of only 1 top goalie prospect in Nedeljkovic, which could be addressed in the 2015 draft going forward. With our Islander roster becoming more and more competitive, it should allow the Islanders to let all our prospects to develop fully rather than making huge jumps to the NHL which should only benefit the Isles long term.
- Left Wing: Michael Dal Colle, Juho Lammikko, Oskar Lindblom, Taylor Cammarata, John Persson and Mike Halmo.
- Center: Vladislav Kamenev, Viktor Crus Rydberg, Axel Holmström, Johan Sundstrom, Alan Quine, and Jason Clark.
- Right Wing: Sebastian Collberg, Alex Tuch, Kirill Kabanov and Kirill Petrov.
- Left Defence: Kevin Czuczman, Adam Pelech, Andrey Pedan, Aaron Ness Doyle Somerby and Jake Bischoff.
- Right Defence: Ville Pokka, Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield, Louis Belpedio, Jesse Graham, Kyle Burroughs, Robbie Russo and Loic Leduc.
- Goaltender: Mikko Koskinen, Alex Nedeljkovic, Eamon McAdam and Stephon Williams.