Whatever happens in 2021-22, the first season since before the World Wide Web where some pundits are legitimately picking the Islanders to reach the Stanley Cup final, it all begins tonight in Raleigh.
To underline our bizarro world times, both the Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes are seen by many as top contenders for the Metro Division crown. The Hurricanes have turned over about half their roster and their entire goaltending tandem, but they remain analytics darlings who conduct creative post-victory line dances.
And yet, despite the hype and excitement for the beginning of the season, we may be burying the lede: Last night TSN’s Darren Dreger reported “hearing” (that’s reporter code for solid info but unofficial/unconfirmable) that the Islanders have reached an eight-year extension with Ryan Pulock for just under $50 million.
If true, that would be another key member locked up for a long time — Pulock’s partner Adam Pelech signed for 8 years this summer — in this case at over $6 million per season for Pulock. It’s great news for this season’s (or really, next season’s) team, but of course long-term deals like that carry inherent risk. Sometimes they pay off handsomely and sometimes in their back half they become a Johnny Boychuk LTIR kind of situations.
Pulock is 27 and already making $5 million (before escrow) for the coming season. The reported deal would take him through his age 36 season. At some point during that time, Noah Dobson may very well command more than either Pulock or Pelech.
But that is a bridge general manager Lou Lamoriello will deal with when he comes to it, as is his wont.
[UPDATE: First Islanders Goal (FIG) Picks can be posted here!]
- Puck drop is around 7 p.m. Here’s a preview. [Isles]
- Lamoriello spoke to media, and confirmed some anticipated roster moves: Thomas Hickey and Jakub Skarek go to Bridgeport, Cory Schneider and Kieffer Bellows are on the new 23-man roster. Arthur Staple started off asking Lou about the cap-and-contract-filing dance. Later, he asked Lou about the approach to opening with 13 games on the road. [Isles]
- For the inaugural season at Belmont, season tickets are sold out, but you can sign up for the “Islanders Reserve” wait list here. [Isles]
- Staple and his October cohost Michael Grabner preview the season and more. [Athletic, No Sleep Till Belmont podcast]
- Andrew Gross also previews the season and shares curated excerpts from Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello’s latest media availabilities. [Newsday]
- Select excerpts as Lou Lamoriello spoke to media and said Lou things, praising the four lines of talent and saying its his deepest Isles roster yet. [Newsday | Drive 4 Five]
- The latest Talkin’ Isles podcast features Clark Gillies, Hall of Famer, former Isles captain, and general badass. [Isles]
- Oh look, the Daily News knows the Isles exist. (Actually, not at all. They’re just running an AP story.)
Last night’s NHL scores include the new-look Rangers being “embarrassed” against the Capitals, who scored three IT’S A POWER PLAY GOALs (this after the Post ran about 10 stories about how great they are).
- Follow what’s up with tonight’s opponent at Canes Country. Here’s the Canes’ opening roster.
- Gutless puke Travis Green and Jim Benning, the leadership in Vancouver, enter the season on the hot seat. [Vancouver is Awesome]
- The Predators have reportedly agreed to an extension with Mattias Ekholm. [On The Forecheck]
- Charlie McAvoy and the Bruins are close to a contract extension. [NHL]
- Leafs captain John Tavares is “a man on a mission” according to Canadian media, though he says “nothing changes, just play my game” without Mitch Marner. [TSN Leafs news and occasional other teams]
- In the latest sign of the End Times, the Leafs will have Tik Tok’s logo on their helmets. [TSN]
- AHL announcer Jason Shaya came out. [TSN]