Blog: Let’s Play Catch Up & Speculate

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Since there hasn’t been much news on the Islanders front, I’m taking multiple stories from the last few weeks and putting it all on one piece. I’ll also add an interesting twist to the expansion draft for Islanders fans.

Berube Not Returning

This really isn’t a shock to me, but I did have higher hopes for him. He basically pulled a Kevin Poulin and failed to take the reins while Jaroslav Halak was in the minors. Had he performed, you were probably looking at the next backup for the New York Islanders and maybe even a future starter. Having the three-goalie system did not help matters, but when you’re given an opportunity, you don’t waste it.

There’s another reason it is no longer necessary to keep Berube: Bridgeport Sound Tigers rookie goalie, Eamon McAdam. After Halak was brought back up to the Islanders, McAdam seized his opportunity and ran with it by going 7-3 with a .924 save percentage over a five-week span. Unfortunately for the Sound Tigers last two games, the wheels came off and the team crashed just missing the post season, despite being 11th best in the AHL. If Christopher Gibson returns from injury and is ready to go next season, Gibson could be called upon to play a backup role for the Isles and McAdam will slip into the starters role for Bridgeport with ease. So the Isles may not need to have a three-goalie system next year.

There’s still a question of what to do with Jaro Halak. With Berube no longer on the mix, do the Isles keep Jaro? I’m sticking with my gut and saying he’ll be bought out, but let’s see how the next few weeks play out.

Seidenberg Resigns For Another Year

I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat again: You can never have enough depth, especially on defense. This is a good resign, but if Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are on this team for a full year, the talent will certainly improve, but that’ll leave the Islanders with 9 defenseman on one-way contracts and Bridgeport standout Devon Toews chomping at the bits. To me, either the Islanders are going to lose a defenseman in the expansion draft (see below), or there are going to be trades during draft week. Could this be part of a future package deal? We’ll see.

Islanders Looking To Develop Belmont

While this is certainly something to keep an eye on, take this lesson from the older, more experienced Islanders fans: Wait for the shovel in the ground before we do any more talking about Belmont or Citi Field. Too many promises and too many broken hearts will tell you that until you actually see something going on, take everything with a tiny grain of salt.

Expansion Draft

Getting back to the players, if the Islanders go the 8 players and 1 goalie protection list, then you’re probably looking at the following being protected: Tavares, Ladd, Lee, Bailey, Leddy, Boychuk, Pulock, Hamonic, and Greiss.

That’s going to leave players like Nelson, Strome, de Haan, & Hickey exposed. Cizikas and Clutterbuck are exposed, but who’s going to want their “Overpaid” contracts? Maybe that’s why they were given those contracts in the first place? However, this is what intrigues me about de Haan: He’s a restricted free agent. According to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, Vegas will receive a 48-hour window ahead of the expansion draft and can talk to and sign any unrestricted and restricted free agents set to hit the market on July 1 that are left unprotected by their teams. So if the Islanders cannot resign de Haan to a new contract before the expansion draft, Vegas could talk to him and possibly overpay what the Islanders can afford and that will be the end of the expansion draft for the Islanders. The Islanders are really tight at the cap ceiling right now (roughly 2 million left), which is why I see a possible buyout for Halak coming, if the Isles want to resign de Haan.

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Is Pulock a top 4 defenseman right now?
So for those who want Hamonic, Hickey, Bailey and any other whipping boy you want exposed, this may turn out to be a cap casualty in losing de Haan before the expansion draft even takes place. So here are the speculations for you everyone to ponder: Do I think the Islanders want to lose de Haan? No. Do I want to see him go? Of course not. Could the Islanders make a trade to Vegas, say a 2nd rounder for de Haan and get something back for him in this particular draft? Sure. Could they buyout Halak and attempt to resign de Haan? Sure. Could Ryan Pulock, who spent the entire season in the AHL playing top defenseman minutes, simply move in to de Haan’s vacated top four spot? It’s looking that way. What about that potential package deal I brought up before with the surplus of defenseman? The bottom line is this, we could come up with a lot of speculation between now and the expansion draft, but know this: the Islanders are going to be really busy once the Stanley Cup is presented.

Leave your thoughts or comments below and let me know what everyone think.

PK