In the latest installment of As The World Turns; Islanders edition, goaltender Anders Nilsson said today that he would no longer report to the Islanders' AHL affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The news likely means that if the pending RFA does not get an NHL contract from someone this offseason, he will return to Europe to continue his career.
Nilsson spent time in both Bridgeport and Uniondale this year ultimately closing out the season with the Isles. In 19 games played with the Isles, Nilsson posted an 8-7-2 record with a 3.11 GAA and a .896 save percentage. Color me crazy but I am failing to see the justification behind refusing to play in the AHL with numbers that are hardly even worth a two way contract. But Nilsson has every right to make his own demands as an athlete and I wish him the best of luck in the SEL, KHL or wherever he ends up.
I'm not certain whether to say this makes the Islanders goaltending situation better or worse. On one hand, they now have one less option because there is no way Snow gives him a 1 way deal (there is no way they do, right?). Kevin Poulin is also an RFA this summer and from the looks of it won't be retained. Evgeni Nabokov will be a UFA and still could be signed for another year as a starter or ideally, a backup. However this now leaves the Islanders with Kenny Reiter as the most experienced goalie in the system who only has minimal AHL experience to his resume. On the other hand it even more so forces the hand of Garth Snow to obtain two NHL capable goaltenders before next year.
To the credit of Nilsson, he didn't play horribly with the Isles this year and certainly was more effective than Poulin, but he is not the guy the Isles should be rewarding with a 1 way deal. All we can do now is hope that the front office makes legitimate offers to the likes of Jonas Hiller, Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliott during free agency and if those options evade the Isles, the better hit the trade market hard and target James Reimer.
Those scenarios are still to be determined, but for the time being it's goodbye, Anders. Thanks, but no thanks.