Note: The weekly prospect report is in the previous post.
No one connected is saying the New York Islanders are 24 hours from trading P.A. Parenteau or Evgeni Nabokov. On the contrary, there are hints the opposite is the case, or at least is the intent of GM Garth Snow.
But while Nabokov and the Isles are widely reported to be in contract extension talks before Monday's trade deadline, Parenteau's last concrete update was his agent's very public pledge to shut down the studio until season's end. For a team that is eight points out of eighth this morning (albeit with three games in hand), what's a GM to do with his 56-point unrestricted free agent-to-be?
Senators (32-23-8, 7th/E) vs. Islanders (26-27-8, 13th/E)
5 p.m. EST | MSG+ | Audio: NHL - WRHU
[provincial made-up compound] Place
Seeking Pinkie Surgeons: Silver Seven
Today's game is the last one for the Isles before that deadline. It has been a seller's market thus far. Eric Francis on HNIC's Hot Stove (nicely outlined here) sounded certain Parenteau would sign with the Islanders -- but when, and why?
Absent private details of negotiations, all we can do is speculate on the inner workings. Maybe there really is mutual loyalty here and they'll simply let the market and the season help determine price. Or maybe the Isles really do think Parenteau is replaceable from within, despite the club's inability to generate offense beyond the top two lines. (If they do, they'd better cash him in now rather than let him walk for free.) Time and media chaos will tell.
Edit: Oh, and Mike Mottau is officially off IR now.
Craig Anderson is a workhorse -- the league's busiest next to Pekka Rinne -- but right now he's a workhorse with a sliced finger. Yesterday Alex Auld did not excel in his place. Coach Paul MacLean deflected attention away from Auld, noting his team only "played 12 minutes" of the game (the least important 12 minutes, it turned out).
Playing a back-to-back after a fierce meeting with the Bruins, the Sens might turn to rambunctious callup Robin Lehner.
UPDATE: The Senators have acquired Ben Bishop, a good goalie prospect in the AHL, from the Blues for a 2nd-round pick. Bishop was to be a free agent this summer, but: "TSN and NHL Network Insider Bob McKenzie tweeted that prior to agreeing on the deal, the Blues signed Bishop to a one-year, one-way contract extension." Bishop has played 13 NHL games with a .896 save percentage, but zero games this year. He was seen as arguably the AHL's best goalie this year.
The Sens obliterated the Islanders at home six days ago, so the Isles will be itching to return the favor while Chris Neil will be itching to run more people. The isles, as Parenteau said in the Rangers post-game, owe the Sens. But the Sens, after yesterday's stinker, owe themselves. It could be an interesting game, with or without PAP's last stand.
The Islanders have other candidates for trade of course, but they're not nearly as appealing as Parenteau or Nabokov. Most interesting today will be the presence of both Casey Cizikas for his second NHL game and David Ullstrom for his 15th. Ullström had a nice debut earlier this season before tapering off and then leaving with a concussion. With Brian Rolston waived and theoretically being removed from the Island, Ullström and Cizikas represent hopes for more productive bottom-six players in the future.
Snow is both close to the vest and often relatively quiet on deadline day. We'll know more Monday afternoon, but today is your last look at the pre-deadline Isles.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for today's game in this FanShot.