On the first day of the 2012 NHL Free Agency period, the New York Islanders signed three players, but lost a key contributor in P.A Parenteau. Parenteau received the same contract that the Avalanche gave to David Jones and it will be interesting to see if the right winger can match his totals on a line with Matt Duchene instead of John Tavares.
On the other hand, Garth Snow’s additions of Matt Carkner, Brad Boyes, and Eric Boulton helped add some depth and grit to the Islanders lineup for the 2012-2013 NHL season. With the addition of Lubomir Visnovsky via a draft day trade, the Islanders seem to have solidified their defensive corps for the upcoming season as Mark Streit, Visnovsky, Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, and Matt Carkner will be relied upon to bring balance to an Islanders defense that struggled for a good portion of the 2011-2012 campaign. Adding some toughness to the Isles’ lineup was not a bad choice by Snow and the deals that he gave to the three players were of good value and low risk.
Here’s a breakdown of the Isles’ signings:
Brad Boyes (One Year Deal at One Million Dollars) – Many hockey fans have noted Boyes’ drop in production after the right winger put up 137 points from 2007-2009 with the St. Louis Blues. Boyes’ 2011-2012 season with the Buffalo Sabres was less than spectacular as the forward only managed to put up 23 points in 65 games played. However, the winger’s “fall from grace” may be a bit of a harsh description for a player that is only one year removed from tallying 55 points in 83 games played. Since P.A Parenteau chose to sign with the Colorado Avalanche, the addition of Boyes made sense for Snow and the Islanders as the forward comes to Long Island on a one year deal at a relatively inexpensive one million dollars.
While many might not expect Boyes to equal the production of P.A Parenteau, working with John Tavares and Matt Moulson on the Isles’ number one line may just reinvigorate the right winger. As previously mentioned, Boyes’ deal is a low risk move for the Islanders as he comes in at a cheap price and could be let go if the team doesn’t like what they see from him after the 2012-2013 season. Maybe a change of scenery will benefit Boyes when he gets to Long Island, but the contract made sense for the Isles as it pushed them further toward the cap floor and added some depth to their offensive lineup.
Matt Carkner (Three Year Deal Worth 4.5 Million Dollars) – At 1.5 Million Dollars a year, the Matt Carkner signing also made sense for the Islanders as it gave them a little bit more defensive depth and a much needed physical presence to the team. After losing Zenon Konopka to the Senators last year, Matt Martin was the biggest physical presence on an Islander team as he led the team in hits for the 2011-2012 season. By signing Carkner, the Islanders received a d-man that could be a good fit for New York’s bottom defensive pairing and a player that isn’t shy when it comes to dropping the gloves and defending his teammates.
Not many are expecting Carkner to be an offensive dynamo when he arrives on Long Island, but the d-man will be depended on in the hits and shots blocked departments. If Carkner can stay healthy for the majority of the 2012-2013 NHL season, then the Islanders might have another good value signing on their hands as the Winchester, Ontario native comes to the Island at a relatively cheap price and will provide the Islanders with an element that they have been missing since Zenon Konopka’s departure.
Eric Boulton (One Year Deal) – Much like Carkner, Boulton will provide the Islanders with a physical presence, shot blocking abilities, and a willingness to throw some fisticuffs if need be. It is safe to say that New York won’t be relying on Boulton to shoulder any kind of offensive workload, but the signing gives the Islanders another experienced role player for the team’s bottom lines. If Carkner can provide the Isles with a physical body off of the bench for much of the 2012-2013 NHL season, then Snow’s signing of the gritty left winger could pay off for New York as well.
Parting With Parenteau and Haley
The loss of P.A Parenteau definitely affects the Islanders since the team does not know who can possibly step into Parenteau’s shoes and replace his offensive production. Parenteau’s 67 points will be hard to replace, but the Brad Boyes signing on Sunday was a step in the right direction for the Islanders. There is still a great deal of time before Islanders fans find out who will be joining John Tavares and Matt Moulson on the team’s top line, but the additions of Carkner, Boyes, and Boulton add an element of depth that New York was sorely missing during their last campaign.
With Micheal Haley and Trevor Gillies leaving the Islanders organization, the team was forced to look elsewhere for toughness and the signings of Matt Carkner and Eric Boulton addressed just that for the Isles. While it is still yet to be seen what dimensions Carkner and Boulton will add to the Islanders, hockey fans must realize that Micheal Haley and Trevor Gillies were probably not going to permanently crack an NHL lineup anytime soon. Gillies and Haley were definitely galvanizing forces for the Islanders a couple of years ago after the melee against the Pittsburgh Penguins culminated in almost 350 penalty minutes being assessed to the Pens and Isles. However, the Islanders will be able to move on without the two aforementioned players and fans should see that the additions of Carkner and Boulton can equal the intimidation factor that Gillies and Haley brought to the New York lineup.
Losing P.A Parenteau to the Colorado Avalanche may not have surprised or excited many Islanders fans, but the fan-base should be happy with the moves that Snow has made so far. Getting Lubomir Visnovsky and Matt Carkner rounded out the open spots on the Isles’ defense and the addition of Boyes gave the team a much needed boost to its offensive depth after not being able to woo Parenteau. Adding Carkner and Visnovsky might not have seemed like extremely significant moves, but if the two d-men could provide some more balance to the Isles’ defensive core and prevent the team from always keeping play in their own zone, then New York might be better off in the long run with Snow’s most current signings.