And So It Begins!

While there hasn’t exactly been a flurry of activity in or around the Islanders organization (or the league for that matter) there have been a number of notable moves and signings today. Let’s break down the latest:

The Detroit Red Wings have signed Darren McCarty to a one year deal; he had worked his way up through the ranks and will now eventually get to the big club. It is definitely the feel good story of the year. Check out TSN for all the details.

The Colorado Avalanche announced today that they have signed Peter Forsberg to a one year contract, marking his on again/off again return to the NHL. This could potentially impact all of the teams who where trying to persuade Foppa to their clubs, what will they do now and will this drive value up for the forwards left?

After a stunning come from behind victory over the Buffalo Sabres, the Philadelphia Flyers announced a trade for Tampa Bays Vaclav Prospal. In return the Lightning receive defensive prospect Alexandre Picard and a second or third round draft pick in 2009.

On the heels of this announcement, the Lightning announced that they have come to terms with defenseman Dan Boyle on a 6 year $40 million dollar contract that will pay him $6.66 million per year.

With the latter three moves/signings I posted, it could very well throw kinks into the plans of rival GM’s. There are only so many names on the lists of players teams are interested in or even available, so this drives the value of those players up – what would’ve originally been worth a mid level prospect, pick can now be worth both or an elite prospect or high pick. What does this mean for the Islanders? It could mean one of two things. The Islanders are now in a tough position having only lost one game over the last 7, and being 2 points out of a playoff spot. They could sell off pending unrestricted free agents for higher than average yield, or they could try to sign one or two of them and get whatever they can for the rest.

Greg Logan reported in yesterday’s Newsday that forwards Miroslav Satan, Josef Vasicek, Ruslan Fedotenko and Mike Comrie could find themselves on a different team come tomorrow’s trade deadline. Satan is the only player of the four who has a no trade clause – and Logan reports (at the time of print) Satan had not been approached about waiving it. It was also purported that Comrie and Vasicek had been offered contract extensions – but negotiations were ongoing.

However, when I checked the site for an update (as I type this) it appears new developments have broken. Per Logan:

According to an NHL source, the Islanders now have made an offer to right wing Miroslav Satan in addition to their previous offers to centers Mike Comrie and Josef Vasicek. Forward Ruslan Fedotenko’s agent is engaged in discussions with Isles general manager Garth Snow and has made it clear his client wants to stay, but it’s doubtful that will lead to a contract before Tuesday’s 3 p.m. deadline. Forward Chris Simon also is headed to free agency without an offer.

Continuing on in Logan’s article – it appears that everyone involved in contract discussions appears happy where they are and in Comrie’s case worried about leaving the Islanders enough flexibility cap-wise to add more talent:

Snow is willing to give Comrie a long-term contract for the equivalent of second-line money. Comrie would prefer a shorter term that gives both sides flexibility. His priorities revolve more around the role he plays and making sure there is enough talent for the team to succeed.

Details about Satan’s contract details were not discussed – as Miro left practice without speaking to the media. I would imagine that he would want to see a modest raise over his current $4,500,000 contract. He could see upwards of $5 million on the open market come July 1st, so with other UFA’s to get under contract – is Satan worth that kind of money? If he really does like the Islanders as much as he says, is he willing to take less money in order to stay? He has been an absolute warrior for the team this season (playing hurt) and it would be tough to see him walk.

Will tomorrow be the last time we see some of these players in an Islanders uniform? Will we see a trade with Toronto go down that will land us defensive help in Bryan McCabe? Nobody really knows for sure – but one way or another tomorrow is a big day for the Islanders.

Michael Schuerlein

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