Monday, July 23, 2007

Ryan Caldwell

In the inane Former Islander department, prospect defenseman Ryan Caldwell who was traded last season in the deal that brought Eric Boguniecki to the Island, signed a 1 year contract with the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday. The financial terms were not released. A 26 year old d-man originally drafted in the 7th round, 202nd overall, Caldwell has only played 2 NHL games (both in 2006) registered 2 penalty minutes and 2 shots.

Alain Nasreddine

Having made it onto last week's Top 10 Remaining FIs, Alain Nasreddine has found at least one more year of pro work with the Pittsburgh Penguins signing a 1 year contract on Monday. In 44 games last season, taking over for the injured Eric Cairns, Nasreddine notched 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) and only 18 penalty minutes. With a +12 rating, Nasreddine finished second on the team. A professional minor leaguer, the 32 year old Nasreddine has played only 68 career games tallying all of his points this past year. Aside from the Isles and Pens, Nasreddine has seen playing time with the Blackhawks and Canadiens. Financial terms of the deal have yet to be released.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Alexei Yashin

The NHL saga of Alexei Yashin is over, at least for now. It was announced Friday that Yashin signed a 1 year, 1 way deal with Yaroslavl Locomotiv of the Russian Superleague. The deal includes no out option to return to the NHL mid-season meaning Yashin is not coming back until the 2008-9 season, if he ever decides to return. Though no monetary details were released, it can be presumed that Yashin is making around $4 million which means, with the buyout from the Isles, Yashin isn't missing a beat on cashing in for next year, even if it is half way around the world.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tom Fitzgerald - Pittsburgh Staff Hiring

Former NHLer and FI Tom Fitzgerald was hired by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday as their Director of Player Development. A 17 year veteran, Fitzgerald was drafted by the Islanders in the 1st round, 17th overall in 1986. Playing until 2005-06, Fitzgerald had a long career that saw shifts from center to wing. In 1,097 games, Fitzgerald tallied 329 points (139 goals, 190) including 25 goals and 43 assists with the Isles in 205 games between 1988 and 1993. Fitzgerald saw playing time with the Isles, Panthers, Avalanche, Predators, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs and Bruins before retiring 2 seasons ago. We wish him the best in his new front office position with one of the fastest advancing teams in the league.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Top 10 Remaining Former Islanders

With 2 weeks having passed since the opening of the free agency market there are still hundreds of players waiting to make a deal for their collective playing futures. Among that queue of anxious professionals are a swath of Former Islanders waiting to find new homes. Here are the top 10 remaining FIs in no particular order with a brief argument as to why they are just right for your team:

1. Alexei Yashin (C, 2006-07 Islanders) - "I might have a reputation for cashing big paychecks while giving little back but I truly am a talented player. In an injury-shortened season I netted 50 points in only 58 games. Every full season I have ever played I have managed 65+ points and until my supposed "slump" I was on a Hall of Fame path. I am a bonified scorer 781 career points (337 goals, 444 assists) in 850 games."

2. Mike Peca (C, 2006-07 Toronto) - "Despite breaking my leg in that crushing hit that shortened my season(secretly I cringe when I think about it), I am still available with a considerable discount. In my 35 games last year I accounted for 15 points, but is my veteran leadership that could be an asset to your team. One of the best two-way forwards I am a 2-time Selke Award winner. I am also a pretty good scored with 409 points (164 goals, 245 assists) in 728 career games."

3. Brent Sopel (D, 2006-07 Los Angeles/Vancouver) - "With 28 points in 64 games last season I continued my strong offensively-tinged defensive work with the Kings and playoff-bound Canucks. A fairly well-behaved blue liner I kept my penalties low last season and it paid off. When I am able to stay healthy I am an asset both in the home zone and on the attack. I have 181 points (39 goals, 142 assists) in 434 career games."

4. Bryan Berard (D, 2006-07 Columbus) - "Now that my back is better I am ready to give it my all in a full season of work. Last season I managed 3 assists in 11 games. A former Calder Trophy winner who has suffered the blows of bad luck (back injury, freak eye injurt) I am an excellent two-way defender with a nifty offensive touch. In 565 games I have 301 career points (71 goals, 230 assists)."

5. Jamie Heward (D, 2006-07 Washington/Los Angeles) - "After a disappointing set of tours with the Caps and Kings I am looking to join a defensive corps in need of help. In 71 games last season I managed 24 points while notching only 47 penalty minutes. A moderate two-way player, I have 122 points (38 goals, 84 assists) in only 381 games of pro work."

6. Vladimir Orszagh (RW, 2006-07 Injured Reserve) - "I have fully recovered from the knee injury that cut my 2005-06 campaign short. A staple for 3 years in Nashville, I am a competent goal-scorer with pretty good speed and a feisty nature. In 289 games I have notched 119 points (54 goals, 65 assists). I topped the 30 point mark in three consecutive season between 2001 and 2004."

7. Jim Dowd (C, 2006-07 New Jersey) - "I had a few spotlight moments last year with the Devs when nobody expected it. A 665 game veteran I am a moderate point scorer with good 3rd line or great 4th line center written all over. In 66 games last season I split 8 points between offensive categories but it was my 4th goal, a highlight shorthanded tally against the Flyers that sealed my place in New Jersey history. On my career I have 229 points (63 goals, 166 assists) and am looking to make more history somewhere soon."

8. Mike Dunham (G, 2006-07 Islanders) - "The Isles have made it clear that I am not welcome back, but that doesn't mean I can't be a competent back up goalie for your team. Understandably, Dubie stole my thunder last year after my little lapse but as a former 1st stringer I was a little rusty with the lack of play under the DiPietro dominance on the Island. 4-10-3 last year with a 3.74 goals against average and a .889 save percentage, I am now a 394 game veteran (366 starts). On my career I am 141-178-39-5 with a 2.74 gaa, .908 save % and 21,653 minutes of ice time under my belt."

9. Trevor Linden (C, 2006-07 Canucks) - "Hoping Vancouver and I can hammer out an extension this summer, I am still available as of right now. Former captain of the Canucks, former President of the NHLPA, Calder Trophy finalist, 4-time Cyclone Taylor Trophy and 2-time Cyrus H. McLean Trophy winner I have also won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and was awarded the Order of British Columbia honor. A national landmark in Canada, I had a late season resurgence last year and finished with 25 points in 80 games. A consistent force on the ice I have only missed 13 games over the last 4 seasons. A 1323 game vet, I have 855 career points (368 goals, 487 assists) and am looking to stay in the league."

10. Alain Nasreddine (D, 2006-07 Pittsburgh Penguins) - "While Eric Cairns recovered from his season-ending injury, I filled in for him with the volatile Pens. In 44 games I had 5 points with a +12 rating and a gentlemanly 18 penalty minutes. I am looking to play my first, real full season this upcoming year. In 68 career games I have 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists)."

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mike York

The Phoenix Coyotes signed Former Islander Mike York to a 1 year, $1 million deal on Monday. A considerable paycut from last year, York had a slow year as he split time between the Isles and Flyers. In a combined 66 games, York had only 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points. On his career, York has played in 515 games tallying 121 goals and 187 assists for 308 points. A staple on powerplay lines in the past, York has 28 career powerplay goals and another 61 assists with the man advantage to go along with his 22 game winning goals. The Coyotes will be his 5th team as he has played with the Rangers, Oilers, Isles and Flyers. Phoenix is hoping he will return to the career form he displayed in 4 non-consecutive 50+ point seasons with Edmonton and both New York teams (good and evil).

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sean Hill

Despite becoming the first player suspended under the NHL's drug policy after testing positive for boldenone, Sean Hill has been signed by a new team. In the wake of the scandal that forced him out of the decisive Game 5 of the opening round series against the Buffalo Sabres, Hill had much reason to believe he might be forced in to retirement (taken into consideration with his age, 37). Having served only 1 game of his mandatory 20 game suspension, the Minnesota Wild have still optioned to sign him on to a one year contract worth $475,000. Accepting his statement that he did not knowingly take the banned substance, the Wild are willing to wait out nearly a quarter of the season in order to get Hill's scrappy and time-crunching style. In 81 games last season with the Isles, Hill had 1 goal and 24 assists for 25 points. He was a force on the powerplay blueline tallying 12 assists with the man advantage. Averaging 22:33 of ice time a night Hill also managed 110 penalty minutes and a +6 rating. On his 15 year career Hill has played in 841 games while banging home 60 goals and 229 assists for 289 points. He has also clocked 976 penalty minutes. Minnesota will be his 8th team as he has had tours of duty with the Canadiens, Ducks, Senators, Hurricanes, Blues, Panthers and Islanders.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Kevin Weekes

After suffering an injury-shortened season with the Rangers this past year, Kevin Weekes didn't have to look far to find a new gig. Weekes signed a $1.375 million, 2 year deal to become the new backup tender for Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. Though Weekes won't see much action backing up the current Vezina Trophy winner he does bring some serious veteran experience to the position. Before his injury last year, Weekes went 4-6-2 (W-L-OTL) in 14 games with the Rangers and saw action in 16 games overall. He stopped .879 percent of shots that came his way and finished with a 3.39 goals against average. For his career, Weekes is 96-156-33-5 (W-L-T-OTL) with a 2.90 gaa and a .902 save percentage. He never found true starter security anywhere having played 2 poor seasons as Carolina's defacto #1 puck stopper between 2002 and 2004 and a prior full season with Tampa Bay in 2000-01. Weekes has had tours of duty with 6 teams including the Panthers, Canucks, Isles, Lightning, Hurricanes and Rangers. In his 323 career games (299 of them starts), Weekes has 19 career shutouts. Over that time Weekes has clocked 17,699 minutes of ice time.

Jamie Rivers and Mathieu Biron

In a one-two punch the Montreal Canadiens signed to Former Islander defensemen on Thursday. There is slight confusion among TSN's current reporting, but Rivers has signed either a 1 or 2 year deal with the Habs at an undisclosed amount. Mathieu Biron is reported to have inked a 1 year deal with unknown financial ramifications.

Jamies Rivers, a 454 game veteran, is coming off a split season between the St. Louis Blues and their AHL affiliate. In 31 games, Rivers scored 1 goal and added 3 assists for 4 points. Rivers also clocked 36 penalty minutes. On his career, Rivers has 17 goals and 49 assists for 66 points. His best season was his only with the Isles when he scored 17 points in 75 games. Montreal will be his 8th team as he has seen playing time with the Blues, Isles, Senators, Bruins, Panthers, Redwings and Coyotes.

Mathieu Biron has not played in the NHL since the 2005-06 season when he was with Washington. A veteran since 1999, Biron has only played 60 games in a season once on his career. A former 1st round draft pick with the Los Angeles Kings, Biron started his career on the Island. Biron split time last season with the AHL's Worcester Sharks and Montreal's affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs, the eventually Calder Cup winners. In 77 games, Biron has 10 goals and 29 assists for 39 points with 94 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, Biron had 2 goals and 6 assists for 8 points in 22 games while notching 33 penalty minutes. In his NHL career, Biron has played in 253 games scoring 12 goals and 32 assists for 44 points while accruing 177 penalty minutes. Biron can best be described as an enforcer with above average offensive skill. He has seen playing time with the Isles, Lightning, Panthers and Capitals.

Allan Rourke

Defensive prospect Allan Rourke was traded by the Islanders today with a 2008 Draft 3rd Round pick to Edmonton in exchange for a 2008 2nd Round pick. The 2008 Draft is already believed to be full of potential big name talent. Rourke never really settled in with the Islander organization. In 17 games over the last 2 seasons, Rourke had 0 goals and 2 assists adding only 4 penalty minutes to his stats. After being drafted in 1998 by the Toronto Maple Leafs he eventually found his way to Carolina for the 2003-04 season. On his career, Rourke has played in 42 NHL games with 1 goal, 4 assists and 26 penalty minutes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Brad Lukowich

Former Islander Brad Lukowich signed a 3 year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. The monetary terms of the contract have yet to be disclosed. Last season was fairly stagnant for Luko as he logged 75 games with the New Jersey Devils accounting for only 4 goals, 8 assists and 12 points with 36 penalty minutes. On a positive note, 2 of 4 Lukowich's goals were game winners. On his career Lukowich has played in 523 games with 21 goals, 75 assists for 96 points while compiling 333 penalty minutes and a +48 rating. Luko has seen tours of duty with the Stars, Isles, Devils and previously played for the Lightning between 2002 and 2004. We wish Brad the best with his new old team.

Raffi Torres

The Edmonton Oilers resigned Raffi Torres on Wednesday, July 3 for 3 years at a total of $6.75 million. The Former Islander and 2000 #5 draft pick will be returning to Edmonton for his 4th full season. Last season, Torres scored 34 points on 15 goals and a single-season high 19 assists while playing in all 82 games. In fact, Torres has been such a consistent force for the Oilers that he has played in 244 games over the last 3 seasons missing only 2 games in the 2003-04 campaign. In 275 career games Torres has 62 goals and 53 assists for 115 points. Not a stellar scorer, the pressure is now on Torres to step up his offensive production with this new contract that will average 2.25 million per season. We wish Raffi the best in his continued stay in Oil Country.

Brad Isbister

Former Islander Brad Isbister signed a 1 year, $525,000 contract with the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, July 3. Vancouver, already a FI hotbed, was interested in Isbister after a solid showing with the New York Rangers last season. In 19 games with the Blueshirts, Isbister notched a goal and 4 assists for 5 points. Despite his end-to-end game being quite strong he only saw play in 4 playoff games accounting for no points and only 2 shots on goal. Isbister has not played a full season since he logged 79 games with the Islanders in the 2001-02 season managing only 201 games over since then. On his career, Isbister has played in 486 games scoring 100 goals and adding 111 assists for a total of 211 points. Isbister has suited up for the Coyotes, Isles, Oilers, Bruins and Rangers making the Canucks his 6th team. Considering he is leaving Manhattan for Vancouver (a smart move), we wish him the best.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Todd Bertuzzi

Todd Bertuzzi is now a Duck. The Big Bert signed a 2 year, $8 million deal to join the Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks on the second day of free agency. Despite reports that the Redwings wanted to keep Bertuzzi he opted instead to sign on with the West Coast squad and rejoin Brian Burke whom he had played under the GMship of in Vancouver. On the injury-shortened season Bertuzzi split his efforts between the Panthers and Redwings totalling 15 games played. He managed 3 goals and 8 assists for 11 points in that time. In the playoffs, Bertuzzi scored 3 goals and added 4 assists in 16 games. The Ducks will be Bertuzzi's 5th team after starting his career with the Isles and playing in Vancouver, Detroit and Florida. Our best wishes to Todd this upcoming season.

Bryan Smolinski

Bryan Smolinski landed himself a neat 1 year, $2 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. The journeyman Former Islander joins his 8th team since entering the league in the 1992-93 season. Last year Smolinski split time with Chicago and Vancouver eventually scoring 44 points in 82 games on 18 goals and 26 assists. On his career, Smoke has played 992 games notching 266 goals and 360 assists for 626 points. Smolinski has seen playing time with the Bruins, Penguins, Isles, Kings, Senators, Blackhawks and Canucks. Good luck Bryan.

Roman Hamrlik

Another Former Islander favorite is on the move today, the second day of free agency. Defenseman Roman Hamrlik has bailed on the Calgary ship after 2 seasons to join the Montreal Canadiens on a 4 year deal. Monetary terms have yet to be disclosed. A 15 year veteran, Hamrlik's career has stayed steady and last year could be seen as a late-career surge. He tallied 38 points (7 goals, 31 assists) in 75 games, including 17 powerplay assists. Hamrlik, formerly with Tampa Bay, Edmonton and the Isles should provide a solid #2 or #3 d-man and has fans speculating as to the fate of Hab favorite Sheldon Souray. On his career Hamrlik has played in 999 contests while notching 131 goals and 374 assists for 505 points. We wish Roman the best in his future.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Ryan Smyth

Captain Canada's days with the Islanders are over. Despite his short tenure with the team he was a memorable late season addition and driving force in the team's surprise playoff trip. Smyth notched a 5 year, $31.25 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche late Sunday night. The deal was in the works for much of the day as the Isles', Canadiens' and Leafs' offers fell by the wayside. In his brief stop on the Island, Smyth scored 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 18 regular season games and tallied another goal and 3 assists in the 5 playoff games against Buffalo. On his career Smyth has 788 games under his belt with 270 goals and 294 assists for 564 points. We wish Smyth the best in his future with the Avs.

Viktor Kozlov

Viktor Kozlov inked a 2 year, $5 million deal with the Washington Capitals joining fellow new FI Tom Poti on that seemingly rebuilding franchise. Kozlov came out of his career slump to score 51 points on 25 goals and 26 assists in 81 games last season with the Isles. His 25 goals were a new career high, notable among them being the 4-goal night he had in December against the New York Rangers. In 749 career games, with San Jose, Florida, New Jersey and the Isles, Kozlov has 169 goals and 273 assists for 442 points. We wish Kozlov the best in his new home.

Farewell Jason Blake

Well, it seemed like an eternity to fans but Jason Blake has officially made the round from darling to Former Islander in the blink of an eye. After staunchly refusing to negotiate during the season GM Garth Snow just lost the most prized piece of the team's puzzle. Reports have it that Blake inked a 5 year, $20 million deal with the the much-hated Toronto Maple Leafs. In 508 career games with the Los Angeles Kings and the Isles, Blake scored 134 goals (all but 7 with the Isles) and 152 assists for 286 points. His breakout season, coming at the age of 33, was this past year where he tallied 69 points on the heals of 40 goals. He has had 4 consecutive 20+ goal seasons with the Islanders. The Islanders loss is another team's gain and despite the squad he now joins being on an FIW "List of the Despised" team. We still wish Blake well.

Dick Tarnstrom and Denis Grebeshkov

Two Former Islander defenseman were signed in one swoop by the Edmonton Oilers, Dick Tarnstrom and Denis Grebeshkov. Terms of the 1 year contracts have yet to be disclosed. The move means a return to NHL play for Tarnstrom who spent last season in Europe. In 4 pro seasons Tarnstrom has 126 points in 258 games including 32 goals (19 on the powerplay). Grebeshkov, received in the trade that brought Marc-Andre Bergeron to the Islanders, also spent last season abroad playing for Yaroslavl of the Russian Superleague. In only 33 games, this former first round pick, has 6 assists. The Oilers have now solidified what should shape up to be a much-improved blue line.

Jeff Hamilton

Former Islander Jeff Hamilton signed a 2 year $1.6 million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. He will split the contract even over the two seasons and garnered interest with the 'Canes following his breakout year with the Chicago Blackhawks. Hamilton, discussed in detail on FIW, had 39 points in 70 games this season tallying 18 goals, 4 for game winners. He had two huge nights, as well, topping a 4-point December night with a 5-point game later in the season. He showed flashes of brilliance during the season which is why he garnered some major attention at the Free Agency opening. In 84 career games Hamilton has 47 points. We wish Jeff the best with his new team. He really earned himself a promotion.

Mathieu Schneider

Mathieu Schneider is moving on up to the West side. The Anaheim Ducks cast a line and reeled in the top-tier defenseman and Former Islander. The deal, $11.25 million over 2 years, will undoubtedly be on the the largest we see this offseason for a d-man. Our praise is well known around here for Schneider who is coming off back-to-back 50+ point seasons. With 52 points in 68 games with Detroit last season, Schneider was a force to be reckoned with. The only baggage he brings to the Ducks is his now questionable left wrist which was broken in the second round against the Sharks this postseason. Best of luck Mat Schneider.

Richard Zednik

Richard Zednik signed with the Florida Panthers for 2 seasons at $3.25 million. The oft-injured Zednik never clicked in his brief time with the Isles. In 10 games, after being acquired near the trade deadline, Zednik managed just 1 goal and 2 assists for the Isles. Despite friendly relations with Miro Satan it just never seemed to be for the right atmosphere for Zednik. His rift with the team furthered after he completely disappeared in the 5 playoff games against Buffalo. As with so many other FIs, we wish him the best in what might shape up to be a revitalized Panthers organization.

Tom Poti

Poti played one season for the Islanders and was a force at the blueline leading the d-men with 44 points in 78 games. He was especially effective on the man advantage tallying all 6 of his goals with the man advantage and 26 of his 38 assists. His second best season in the NHL paid off lucratively for Poti as the Washington Capitals snatched him up for big money: $14 million over 4 years. Best wishes to Poti whose career has seen prior stops with the Oilers and Rangers. Though a blip in the grand scheme of Islander defensive history he can always recall his days on the Island as the springboard to a career resurgence.

July 1: Free Agent Flood Gates Open

It is around 3:30 pm (EST) and word has it there are two new Former Islanders:

Richard Zednik's brief stay with the Isles is over. He has signed with the Florida Panthers.

Tom Poti is also joining the list. He has supposedly signed on with the Washington Capitals.

Stay tuned for impending word on Jason Blake, Ryan Smyth and more.