Islanders Going About Their Business

Since the NHL Draft ended, general manager Garth Snow has focused on getting his restricted free agents signed. Of the three big RFAs the Islanders had this off-season, two are locked up. During this past week, New York signed RFAs Anders Lee to a four year deal ($15 million / $3.75 mil annually cap hit) and Thomas Hickey to a three-year deal ($6.6 million / $2.2 mil annually cap hit). With how player salaries are escalating in the NHL today, both are very shrewd signings by the GM. Lee was second on the team last season in goals scored (25) and is still developing. Hickey gives New York depth on the blue line and will fit in nicely, being part of the Islanders third-pairing defense. In addition, Kirill Petrov (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), one of New York’s third round picks in 2008 (Yes 2008), is finally coming over to the NHL from the KHL. Petrov signed a one-year deal at $925,000. Petrov gives the Islanders more depth at the forward position. Snow has one more key RFA to sign this summer — Brock Nelson.

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Backup Goalie Situation is Resolved

On Day 1 of free agency, New York found its backup goalie in Thomas Greiss, who was solid as Pittsburgh’s backup last season, going 9-6-3 with a 2.59 GAA and .908 save percentage. The 29-year old should be able to play 25-plus games next season and give No. 1 netminder, Jaroslav Halak, the ample breathers he will need during the course of next season.

What Will Snow Do Next ?

There has been a lot of speculation regarding the Islanders this past week. Will Kyle Okposo be traded? Will they add a veteran defenseman? Will they land a top-six forward such as Patrick Sharp? The one thing I can tell you, as someone who has followed the Islanders closely since Snow took over as the GM, is no one knows what his plans are other than his inner circle. Did anyone see New York signing both Grabovski and Kulemin in last year’s free agency? Did anyone see the Islanders trading for both Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk at the end of last year’s training camp? Did anyone hear of anything leading into the draft that  Snow would trade top prospect Griffin Reinhart, so he could wind up with two picks in the first round (had to trade up to get that second first rounder)? My point to all Islanders fans and devout NHL followers is Snow never shows his cards. All Islanders fans are going to have to wait and see how the rest of this offseason plays out.

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CJ Lizza