The New York Islanders did not hit paydirt in their quest to handsomely pay free agent winger Artemi Panarin.
Unfortunately, he went to a rival, whose fans will no doubt cite non sequiturs and anachronisms in a quest to rub that in, as fans of the Stepchild of the Original Six are wont to do for want of a second Cup since World War II.
Fortunately, the Panarin chase did not create a casualty some of us feared: Anders Lee still re-signed, and as he and his agent underlined afterward, that was never really in doubt. On the contrary, their delay was possibly even to ensure the Islanders had room to add more.
Unfortunately, the Islanders have yet to add more, and did lose their other remaining key free agent, though that now almost appears by design: They offered four years to an older Semyon Varlamov at a rate that could have gotten two years of the younger and incumbent Robin Lehner, according to the new Blackhawk.
No matter how all that went down, the Islanders still have work to do to improve on 2018-19. Thanks for following along with us yesterday. There is more to come...(?)
- Fries My Bananas: Anders Lee always wanted to remain an Islander and instructed his agent to keep working to that effect, so reports of him doing anything more than listening to other teams really get his agent’s goat. [LHH | Newsday | Post] Whether or not he ever considered other offers, circumstances closed in on this 7x7 match. [Athletic]
- God love Lee, this is always where he wanted to be, and he was sure it would work out in the end. That’s a captain. [Isles]
- It’s four years, $20 million, and a significant no-trade clause for Varlamov. [LHH]
- Just what exactly happened here? Noel and Dan P. review on Isles Buzz podcast. [LHH]
- Carey Haber joined the PTIsles podcast to lament and share relief on a wild day.
- Lou Lamoriello says the Islanders have been reviewing Varlamov for a while, and the goaltending staff is fully behind the move. [Islanders Insight]
- Of course, Lou also said the Isles did “everything [they] could” to keep Lehner, which is, you know, not how Lehner says that all went down, saying he was patient with the Isles only to receive a two-hour “ultimatum.” [LHH | Newsday | Islanders Insight | NHL]
- And Lou, Lee and Varlamaov are happy with how things went, overall, in free agency. [NHL]
- Seven facts about Varlamov. [Isles]
- No new news for the Sound Tigers, though other AHL movement on July 1. [Soundin’ Off]
- Free agency signings: We had our tracker thread here. And here’s the NHL official tracker.
- But also...OFFER SHEET! We briefly wondered whether Montreal’s offer sheet to (the other) Sebastian Aho meant Lee’s options were narrowed. Meanwhile, the Habs considered an offer sheet to Brayden Point before targeting Carolina instead. [HEOTP]
- The Panthers paid BIG for Sergei Bobrovsky, seven years at $10 million per pop. I hope it works out for them but that is scary term and money. [Litter Box Cats]
- The Leafs dealt Nazim Kadri to the Avalanche for right-shooting defenseman Tyson Barrie and center Alex Kerfoot. [NHL]
- Weird Frans, Valtteri Filppula, ends up back with the Wings for two years, $6 million. [Winging It In Motown]
- The Smurfs’ expectations have risen with the addition of Panarin and lottery luck, but John Davidson cautions that they are still in a rebuild. This is a nice line though: “Can Andersson be a legitimate top-two or top-three center? If neither can be the No. 2 center behind Mika Zibanejad, does that mean it’s Ryan Strome?” Do tell. [NHL]
- The Oilers...re-signed Alex Chiassson, so there’s that! [Copper n Blue] Ken Holland says they’re not done though. [Edmonton Journal]
- The Athletic panel asks what the Panarin signing means for the Rangers, though you know they really mean how does it affect the Leafs. [Athletic]
- The Seattle expansion franchise added a brother-sister combo to their staff through a serendipitous encounter at an ice rink. [NHL]
- What the Penguins can expect from Alex Galchenyuk, other than not being Phil Kessel. [PensBurgh]
- Stanley Cup’s summer travels have begun, starting with Blues coach and former Islanders #16 Craig Berube. [Blues]
- Will Pat Maroon stay with the Blues or take a bigger offer? It’s apparently still up in the air. [STL Today]
- More upheaval in a historic NCAA hockey conference. [Gopher hockey blog]