We all knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make the parting any easier. The Hawks finally got under the salary cap ceiling by dealing defenseman Nick Leddy and goaltender Kent Simpson to the New York Islanders in exchange for prospects TJ Brennan, Ville Pokka, and the rights to goalie Anders Nilsson. The trade helped out both teams, as it successfully gave the Hawks some cap room while helping New York upgrade their blue line, but who really won this deal?
It appeared that this rainy Saturday would be nothing but a dreary day on Long Island with every resident hoping for a few rays of sunshine to brighten up the day. Well, the sun may not have appeared from behind the clouds, but things are certainly shining bright after the New York Islanders made some bold trades that have drastically improved their roster.
The New York Islanders have acquired defenseman Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins and Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks.
The New York Islanders had many reasons for not qualifying for this year's quest for the Cup. One of these issues was lacking a steady force between the pipes. Although Evgeni Nabokov has been brilliant at times throughout his tenure with the Isles, he simply was not a strong enough net-minder to handle the starting role (Photo credit: spotboslow/Flickr).
Throw in multiple injuries and two inexperienced goaltenders, and you have added some major ingredients to the mixing bowl of inconsistency. Both Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson proved this year that neither are close to establishing themselves as full-time NHL goaltenders after posting dismal numbers and records.
Garth Snow is currently holding onto the negotiating rights to Jaroslav Halak, who would indefinitely become the Islanders number one goalie if signed to a new contract. However, Halak would not solve the goaltending issues altogether; the Islanders would still be lacking up a back-up keeper.
Goaltender Anders Nilsson said today that he would no longer report to the AHL and is seeking only a 1 way contract as he enters RFA status this summer. This likely means the end of Anders Nilsson's career not only with the Isles but possibly in the NHL too.
The New York Islanders have ended their 2014 season by finishing 26th in the league, good enough for the fifth overall pick in this year's draft lottery and a 34-37-11 record.
At this time last year, the Isles were 24-17-7, a record that was good enough to place them eighth in the Eastern Conference and allow them to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a first round playoff series match-up.
Clearly, this was not the direction that the Islanders and their fan-base expected them to travel this year.
The Islanders wrap up the home slate of the season Tuesday night when the Ottawa Senators come to town. The Islanders will try to improve on their 13-18-9 home record before closing out the regular season on the road for their final three games. The Islanders have played better at home recently (3-0-1) but their failure to take advantage of home ice earlier in the year is a big reason why the Islanders will be watching the playoffs at home next week for the sixth time in their last seven seasons.
Below is a collection of names that will either be free agents or that could be in play via the trade market. One item to note is that with many of these names, there is a reason why they are available. That is not to say they are bad or wouldn’t represent an upgrade over the current three-headed monster the Islanders have used this year (for a laugh, check out the league’s goalie leaders and scroll to the bottom of the list).
The Islanders season has been over for awhile now, their best players have been on the shelf for weeks, and they are basically rolling out the Bridgeport Sound Tigers lineup acting as an NHL lineup day in and day out, but somehow these kids have collected points in 10 of their last 13 games over the past month.
The New York Islanders return home to the Nassau Coliseum for a 7p.m. puck drop Saturday to take on their longtime rival the New Jersey Devils. This will be the fourth of five meetings between the two this year. The Devils a have won two of the three previous matchups, including the most recent, a 6-1 triumph on Coliseum ice back on March 1st. (Photo credit: paul.hadsall/flickr).