July 20, 2010

Notes From the Week

Update - 11:30PM: The NHL has rejected Ilya Kovalchuk's contract with New Jersey. There seem to be differing opinions on the ramifications and the time period and what happens next as of right now. Hopefully tomorrow it will be a bit clearer and we can provide you with some commentary on it.

Hello all!

It's been a couple of days, but there have been some newsworthy items over the past week when it comes to the Islanders and NHL in general.

First off, there is all of the uncertainty surrounding the Lighthouse Project. At first glance, some of you probably say "yeah, and the sky is blue and grass is green." However, the Town of Hempstead finally came back with their proposal, and it was quite the scale back. The project is slightly less than 50% of what owner Charles Wang envisioned for the plot of land. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has come out and publicly stated that he is siding with Wang against the Town and Supervisor Kate Murray.

Managno backing Wang comes as a slight surprise to some due to the fact that he has had his own idea for the land, namely a casino that would be built by the Shinnecocks. When you realize how the game of politics is played though, it isn't all that surprising. Mangano has enough economic hardships going for him in the county, and loosing the Islanders and having the surrounding area go into depression will surely kill any hope he has as far as future political aspirations.

I know that Sean will disagree with me on this, but something is going to happen on this land and when all is said and done it will include the Islanders. The casino plan is a very interesting one indeed, but many people have problems with a casino going up close to an area such as Garden City. I think in the end, those fears will be realized and some of the residents in the surrounding areas who are vehemently against the Lighthouse will be forced to take the lesser of two "evils". The TOH seemed to leave the door slightly open, never once saying that this was a take it or leave it offer (but also telling us it is not a starting point, either). They will meet somewhere in the middle, and everyone will be there shaking hands for the photo opportunities.

Schremp and Kohn Accept: Both Rob Schremp and Dustin Kohn accepted their qualifying offers, coming in the final hours before the July 15th deadline. Both will receive slight raises over what they got last year. Kohn is still a very unknown commodity for the team, and right now it appears as though he may find himself in Bridgeport again to start the season. Schremp played pretty well for the Islanders last season, and in the months up until he got hurt was beginning to go on a tear. If he plays similar to the way he did for a good portion of the 2nd half of his season, he will be extended once again next summer. Schremp knows he still has a lot to prove, so he is a story line to follow again for this season.

17 for #17: Ilya Kovalchuk finally ended his saga, signing with the Devils, which many people assumed he would do for a couple of weeks. But it wasn't for the rumored seven year, $60 million deal the New York Post reported a couple of weeks back. Instead, Lou Lamoriello decided to sign Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract. Best of luck with that one. True, the Devils locked up one of the top five forwards in the league to a very cap friendly figure, but there is no way he plays until he is 44 - and that's not the plan anyway. The deal is obviously extremely front-loaded, so Kovy makes the money he wanted for the years he wanted and can do his thing for as long as he can. It has been established that he isn't the biggest fitness buff out there, but his skills and finesse might be enough to carry him along for much longer than people may think. The Islanders were serious on trying to sign Kovy, regardless of if you want to believe it or not. They wanted to go short term with him, and did talk big money. It is believed that short term meant one year. Still, the interest was genuine and that's all you can really say. Kovy had plenty of offers out there though that were for much longer than one year. He chose one of them, and that is that. We roll ahead...

Now what? Well, there seems to be some differing opinions on what the Islanders may do now, if anything at all. The do still seem to be interested in adding scoring. On the free agent market, you still have Alex Frolov, Lee Stempniak, Paul Kariya and Max Afinogenov. The trade market seems to be fairly quiet for now, as Simon Gagne was dealt to the Lightning shortly after Kovalchuk re-signed with the Devils. That won't last as the Devils may be foreced to part with a forward or two to ensure they can re-sign Zach Parise after next season. Brian Rolston and Jamie Langenbrunner have come up in rumors over the past day.

Garth Snow has said that he wouldn't rule out the possibility of adding another defender to the roster. There are still guys such as Willie Mitchell and Shaone Morissonn out on the free agent market. Many teams seem to be waiting to see what Mitchell's health status is, and riughtfully so. Some team out there is going to get one heck of a d-man on a great deal, who eats minutes and plays a great shut down role. Maybe it can be the Islanders. If they decide to go the trade route, then we may start to hear the names of Kevin Bieska from Vancouver and Sheldon Souray from Edmonton bandied about. Bieska has one year at $3.5 million left on his deal and is on the outs with the Canucks. He will start next season elsewhere for sure. Souray has two years remaining at a cap hit at $5.4 million per year. Souray was placed on waivers a few weeks ago but went unclaimed. There is a thought out there that the Islanders might be interested in a swap of Brendan Witt for Souray, a move that would add $2.4 million towards getting to that cap floor. Jason Gregor of Oilersnation.com cites an executive from one of the Isles or the Oilers at the end of this entry, telling us that it is something that could be kicked around. Souray, when healthy would be a good addition to the Islanders blueline. Would he be willing to waive his no trade to come here? That could be another issue all together. As always, we shall see. Things should heat up a bit once again now that Kovy-gate is over and done with.



No comments: