The most recent twist in the sale of the Islanders isn't a full twist at all. It's more like a tightening quarter turn to the right.
In his NHL blog today on Sports Business Daily, Chris Botta, who has been the closest to the ground throughout the entire episode, laid out a few details about where the talks sit today between prospective owner Andrew Barroway and current owner Charles Wang. As with all anonymously sourced reports, a grain of salt is advised. But Botta does note that he's spoken with people on both sides of the negotiations, so maybe you can dial the salt back to a half-a-grain.
From the story:
- Barroway is seeking to become the majority owner and purchase 80 percent of the team. "He wants decision-making authority and the ability to bring in his own people," said a source.
- The agreed-upon value of the club is around $400 million.
- Wang's advisers told Barroway's group more than a month ago that Wang would like to complete a deal with Barroway this summer.
- Barroway and his partners have lined up all of the necessary financing.
- Barroway has executive personnel ready to join the team should a sale be finalized with Wang and approved by the NHL.
Botta makes clear that the next move is Wang's, although that third bullet point implies that the owner may have set some sort of internal deadline for making his decision on whether to sell or not. The story also mentions that the NHL has advised Barroway to give Wang his space and not push too hard or else he could watch the entire sale go up in smoke.
The news that Barroway has people ready to step into the Islanders' front office once the sale is complete is probably either encouraging or terrifying depending on your feelings towards the team's current situation. While Barroway's executive personnel aren't publicly known right now, it's good to remember that he did flirt with buying the New Jersey Devils once upon a time and may have met some "hockey people" along the way. Even if he didn't, it doesn't necessarily mean that he's bringing in Turtle and Johnny Drama as GM and team president the minute the papers are signed. Still, the fear of the Islanders losing promising players they've nurtured at the whim of a new owner is real.
Other than that, a transaction with a high probability of dragging on continues to drag on, while visions of prosperity dance in fans' heads. As you were.
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