September 10, 2008

Islander Tidbits

OK, so I kind of had another leave of absence there for a bit. At least this was shorter than the last one. The last time you heard from me, the team made Scott Gordon their new coach. Since then things had gotten pretty quiet, but over the last two weeks there have been some grumblings going on as we await the start of training camp next week. So lets just touch upon some of those topics.

First off, the Mats Sundin rumor. For any Islander fan who isn't aware, it was mentioned by Darren Dreiger of TSN that the Islanders are considered a darkhorse candidate for the long time Toronto center. Being that mats Sundin has always been one of my favorite players in the league since I started watching, the news was a pleasant surprise to me. Unfortunately, I think that there is no chance of this happening, but I like Garth Snows persistence on the whole thing. If you have any chance to add a player like Mats Sundin, you have to pursue it. While it doesn't appear the Islanders are completely out of the running for him, it would just seem to be natural that Sundin would want to go to a Stanley Cup contender, right? Well, we don't know. As has been the case with Mats all summer long, no one knows whats really going on in his mind other than he still has a special place in his heart for Toronto. It seems the idea of playing elsewhere really hasn't sunk in for him yet. Even though Toronto has left the door slightly open for a return, I'm not too sure how thrilled they are with the idea being that they are looking to move in another direction based on their buying out of Andrew Raycroft, Darcy Tucker, and their trade of Bryan McCabe this offseason.

Also keep in mind that Sundin wants to return to a place where he hasn't had a top line winger over the last many seasons but still had years of 70+ points. If he were to go to a team like Detroit or Montreal, he'd have a much better chance of winning. We also know this isn't about money because he would have taken Vancouver's 2 year, $20 million offer which has been on the table since July 1. So this situation is very difficult to figure out, and no one really knows what is going on with this. As an Islander fan, I'd love to see this. But I won't get my hopes up about it.

The second thing I'd like to bring up is the Mathieu Schneider rumors. The Ducks are looking to shed some salary in order to bring back Teemu Selanne. That salary dump will most likely come in the form of veteran defenseman Schneider as he is set to make $5.65 million in the final year of a two-year contract. Despite being 39 years old, Schneider has proved that he can still be very effective, especially on the powerplay. Last season he put up 12-27-39 in 65 games with Anaheim. The Islanders have been mentioned in some rumors as well as the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins and the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings I feel are the most likely scenario being that they are still trying to get to the cap floor and are running out of time to do so. Selanne prefers to play the whole year, one that might possibly be his final year. So, it is very possible that the Ducks find themselves in a position where they would want to dump Schneider sooner rather than later and it most likely would not take much to land him. Last season, the Ducks ran into some similar problems when both Scott Niedermayer and Selanne decided to return at the mid point of the season, and this year with Niedermayer staying on for the entire year, they would rather get everything settled now. I think the Kings are a good fit for Schneider, and I really don't see any possible way the Isles would bring him in. They already added Mark Streit this offseason via free agency, and although I would welcome Schneider, I'm not too sure the islanders would. I see them sticking with what they have, and if they want more offence from the blueline I can see them taking a long hard look at someone like Jack Hillen from the farm team.

Finally, I'd just like to briefly mention some of the rumblings that have Josh Bailey possibly playing on the team this upcoming season. I would have no problems with this as long as bailey has earned his spot. I don't want to have the kid play here just because he was a top 10 pick in a deep draft. If he is still raw, he needs to go back to juniors for more seasoning. With that said, I think Bailey does have a shot at making this team. One of the things I commented on in the past was how I liked his size for someone his age. He is a very smart player for someone his age as well, and some scouts went as far as to call him the smartest player of the 2008 draft. It is expected that Josh will sign a contract and get a long, hard look in camp, so it really is up to him. He did look pretty good in prospect camp, and I'm very curious to see if he has a repeat of that in the rookie camp starting on September 15. If he has a good camp, he'll be in training camp with the chance to make the Isles. Even if he does make the team, he would have 9 games up with the big club at which point the team could either keep him or send him back to juniors. Because of age restrictions set by the league, he is not eligible to play in the AHL yet. This is certainly something that we should be keeping tabs on, because it is more realistic we'll see him rather than Sundin. Many are expecting his signing very soon.

So that's just some of the things going on in Islander land lately. With training camp just about 1 week away, its expected we'll learn more about things. So you can expect more posts from me. For now, these are just a couple of things you can chew on and respond to if you like.


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