We are in the dog days of summer. There is nothing worse for an Isles fan than an August where so much is left up in the air. Its been a long long month. The venue effort failed. Free agency was with minor solid piece on the bottom 6, which I warned long ago. The second move to bolster the bottom 6 came via trade.
So there you go. Weight retired and now works in-house. The Isles re-signed others, and basically most is all to be seen and assessed at training camp. So many questions remain in the air, it is almost thick and noxious.
For those still trying to play armchair GM, IF and when the Isles sign Bailey they will be at the cap floor with his contract plus players bonuses/incentives. Add in Nino likely making team and should eradicate cap floor wonder. So might want to retire the calculator and pen.
Samsonov rumors hit the feeder the other day, and it is likely a strong warning shot at Bailey and his agent who seems to be making a habit of contract standoffs. It is fair warning that time is running out and Bailey is in danger of missing the season due to Charles Wang’s directive of all being signed before training camp. Bailey might want to talk to Bergenheim to see how that went. After August 1st, Charles is even more set, so it’s not good scenario for Bailey, nor will help his development.
Isles want to roll three lines of scoring. Rolston or even Reasoner can sub, but Isles have a spot for either another kid or a vet to take if Bailey and his agent fail in this game of chicken. As a penciled 3rd line center, not much leverage for Bailey, though he’s still a part of the rebuild plan.
Speaking of Question Marks….
DP is still the starter till camp begins. Montoya, for all the lauds, there are just way too many fans thinking that Al is guaranteed to be the saving grace. Many a goalie have had hot hands, consistency is about doing it a full season or at least taking it into the new one. Too many are anointing him savior without a shred of indication that he is besides just hope. Let’s see how it continues, shall we?
In all honestly, even the Isles are unsure on how things will transpire. DPs knees and quality of play have caused more fan alarm than Hurricane Irene. Poulin, Koskinen, Nilsson all are in system. Nabokov is a wild card. An elder who has been a starter, who didn’t want to report, yet is here all the same. His future is in his hands… Whether it be for the Isles or dealt elsewhere later on.
Despite the Isles desire to upgrade the defense, something they attempted with the Ehrhoff attempt, and something they still desire. This all falls back to my statement back in late April. The Isles wanted to place more than just bandaids on D like the year before. Sadly, it did not happen as they intended and things are still just not where they want it to be. But now that August 1st has passed, there has been a change in that rush to deal. Though the rebuild and vision for Garth remains, the ability to spend or try to has diminished.
There is no trade on the fire. No sudden next move everyone is waiting on with bated breath. All gone, kind of like Mangano’s venue referendum. The Isles no longer are in the mood to spend, and will measure what they have in-house unless something low cost falls into their lap.
What nobody is simply willing to say is that for the first time since Charles Wang took ownership of the team there is a change from ownership on spending. More indicators of this will peer out as the season begins, unless there is a change of mind from the top. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
They made minor yet solid improvements on the offense. But it is in so many places that improvements need to be made to reach the playoffs. It remains to be seen if someone can make a jump or growth to offset the deficiencies that remain on the Islanders. And if those things happen, can a Nabokov or Comeau be dealt to get what is needed down line? Who knows for sure anymore. Certainly not the Isles who will need camp to see what they are dealt, and then the season for development.
You can have all the experts in the world predict, but in the end, it’s hard to gauge how so many elements will come together. It will take continued hot play from Montoya, the development of Nino and the not mentioned de Haan who the Isles feel is a projected top two dman… To really make things solid. All this and the continued development of the kids, plus some steady leadership and some depth by those like Reasoner and Rolston will be key.
A lot has to happen and come together to make playoffs a reality, but Chef Garth has a lot of smart ingredients in this pot that can make it happen. Hope you brought your appetite. Might want to pack some TUMS just in case, as well.
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About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.