August 1, 2007

Hunter Award Coming Friday

Today, the Isles and Trent Hunter went to arbitration to determine his salary for next season. The Isles had hoped to sign Hunter long term before the hearing, but both sides were unable to agree. Both sides were fine going to the arbitrator, however, and the decision is expected to be out sometime Friday. Most of the time, arbitrators rule based on stats and not intangibles, so Hunter will most likely get a good salary in terms of his production. Last year, Hunter had 20 goals and 35 pts. Earlier today, Rangers forward Sean Avery was awarded $1.9 by an arbitrator. Avery had 48 points in 84 games for the Rangers and the Kings last year. Some see the Avery award as a comparable figure, and based on the stats Hunter should get below $1.9-probably around $1.2-1.3 million.

Recently, Hunter and his agent have talked through the media about the thought of possibly testing the market after next season. If that is the case, then the Isles might want to look at shopping him for some defensive help. I like Hunter very much and still have hopes of seeing him here for many years, but if he is unwilling to show a commitment to the Isles (though there is no evidence of this) then it would be in the best interest of the club to trade him. As the months and the season goes by, we should be able to get a better read on what Hunter's feelings are. Right now he seems intent on testing the market next July. That doesn't mean he can't come back, but 29 other teams will be bidding on him, making the chances not too good. He could also be traded at the deadline if the Isles can figure out his intentions by that time. But as of right now, i expect to see what comes Friday. Hopefully we don't have another case of Mike York on our hands here.

There have been no recent rumors for the Isles in terms of adding players. They sound like they are going to still be adding, the real question is when. The latest rumors came about a week ago, when some websites claimed that Snow called LA about Mike Cammalleri and were close to signing defenseman Danny Markov. But since all that news came out, all has been quiet here in Islander country. With arbitration awards being handed out now, and seeing the Edmonton Oilers make some really outrageous offers to RFA's, one has to wonder which route Snow plans on going. My guess is he'll wait till we get closer to training camp, and see which players are the odd men out on other rosters. A move can come at any time.

Earlier today, Mike Sillinger was on XM radio and said that the Isles are not done yet, and specifically spoke about the defense. That is good news because the current defensive corps, overall just isn't very good. Sillinger would not say if the move would come by trade or FA signing, but Snow does have some things he is working on.

One last note: recently there have been many talks about the Isles new jersey and what it looks like. The word right now is they are waiting until September to release the new designs, but some pictures have been leaked and there are a few different versions of what it will look like. In the near future, we will create a post with links to some of the photos and give you a general idea of what is going on with that.

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