Something that should have been addressed last summer in the offseason continues to haunt the Islanders this year, the pressing need for a number one goaltender. The Islanders decided to resign Evgeny Nabokov after making attempts at goalies such as Corey Schneider during the draft and Ray Emery said no to New York when free agency kicked off. After the abysmal November, Isles Talk put up a poll and asked what the most pressing concern was for the Islanders? To this day, it’s still goaltending. Now fast forward to last week’s trade deadline and we see that the Florida Panthers had traded for Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks and then shipped Tim Thomas to Dallas. Throw in the possible departure of Martin Brodeur for the been ready Corey Schneider from the Devils and what do you get for the Islanders? Good and bad news.
First the bad news, the playoff picture for next year, for now, just got tougher. If you’re an Islanders fan, you want the top three in the division and not have to battle it out the final games of the year to make the wild card because I have a feeling, Florida will at least make a nice run. When you include either a Vezina or Stanley Cup to those goaltenders, you have the following teams who have a shot at the playoffs next year: Boston, Pittsburgh, New York, Columbus, Detroit, maybe Carolina if they have a good offseason, but you have at least 5 teams that should make the playoffs and from the looks of those teams, many are in the Islanders division. Add players like Luongo (Florida) and Schneider (Devils) who can take their teams deep into a playoff run, and their respective teams just needs a good offseason to do some damage. Throw in a possible long run from Carey Price for Montreal and Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier and you know where I’m going with this. Thanks Vancouver, enjoy that 7 goal whipping and you’re eventual rebuild.
Now the good news. Barring any surprise trades or moves by other teams, The Islanders are only 1 of 4 teams that need a number one goalie next year. The others include St. Louis, Anaheim and Calgary. The Blues and Ducks decision to resign future UFA goalies Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller respectively will depend on how deep they go into the playoffs. From what I’ve seen, it could be a safe bet that both those players probably resign with their teams. When you eliminate those two teams, that leaves some good quality goalies to choose from. So who does that leave the Islanders with to choose from?
Free agents- 4. Ilya Bryzgalov 3. Justin Peters 2. Brian Elliot 1. Jaroslav Halak
What do they all have in common? They’re under 35!!!! Seriously, if the Isles want to make a statement next year, no more Roloson/Nabokov AARP starters. These goaltenders are good enough that you can build the team around for a while. I’ll get into more detail in another post but I like option 1 or 2.
Possible trade: 2. James Reimer 1. Craig Anderson
James Reimer was just a short time from beating the Boston Bruins and Craig Anderson has shown he can get his team to the playoffs. Reimer be a starter in Toronto and Anderson has some competition in Ottawa.
The Vancouver Canucks made an indirect mess for the New York Islanders. The good part is, the Islanders can improve their goalie situation this summer with a lot more quality options. As for the rest of the team, we’ll have to wait and see. Who did I miss that should be on this list either by free agent or trading for? Leave some comments.