Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mid-July Updates

There are a pair of signings of note in the Former Islander world. Let us take a look at the happenings:

FI defenseman inked a deal with the President's Trophy winning San Jose Sharks on Thursday July 16. Originally drafted in the 3rd Round, 70th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, it would take 7 years before the blueliner would break into the league midway through the 2008-09 season with the Isles. Callahan suited up in 18 games with the Islanders compiling 2 assists, a +5 rating and a gentlemanly 4 penalty minutes. Callahan could compete for a regular role on the Sharks' backend, one that features such seasoned veterans as Rob Blake, Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich. Terms of the deal have yet to be released.

FI backup goaltender Wade Dubielewicz signed with the Minnesota Wild on Friday July 17. Terms of the deal have not be released yet. Dubie played with the Columbus Blue Jackets late last season after being dropped from his Russian team in the Kontinental Hockey League midway through the year. Dubie played in only 3 games (2 starts) compiling a 1-2-0 record with a 3.56 goals against average and an .870 save percentage. An undrafted signing by the Isles midway through this decade, Dubielewicz has played in 40 games (29 starts) with a 17-5-1-1 record (W-L-T-OTL), a 2.64 goals against average and .916 save percentage. Dubie's signing adds an extra level of depth to the Minnesota goal sending their lineup 3 deep in the backstop position.

Check back soon for more signings as they happen here at FIW.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More FI Movement

There has been a handful more Former Islander happenings of note over the last week. Let us take a look at the activity:

A pair of FIs inked with the Atlanta Thrashers including center Jason Krog, a one-time Thrasher and young goaltender Peter Mannino. Krog, an AHL powerhouse, suited up for the Vancouver Canucks last season netting a goal. A sporadic NHLer, Krog has played in 202 games scoring 22 goals and adding 37 assists for 59 points. An undrafted acquisition by the Isles during the 1999-2000 season he has played for the Blue & Orange, the Ducks, the Rangers, the Thrashers and the 'Nucks. The terms of Krog's deal are unknown but it is probable that the contract features a two-way deal in which he would have an AHL salary schedule and an NHL salary schedule in case he finds his way to the big leagues. If not Krog should be back with the AHL Chicago Wolves, the team with which he took league's scoring title during the 2007-08 season. Another unsigned Isles acquisition, young goalie Mannino has already found a new squad. Mannino played in 3 games with the Isles last season compiling a 1-1-0 record with a 4.52 goals against average and an .885 save percentage. Since the 2008-09 campaign was Mannino's introduction to the NHL that win served as the first of his career. The terms of the deal were not yet unveiled and only time will tell if Mannino finds some more NHL starts in his future.

Chicago defenseman Aaron Johnson avoided salary arbitration and signed a 1 year, $540,000 deal with the Blackhawks. The move all but guarantees that Johnson will find some more playing time with the 'Hawks next season. He played in 38 games for Chicago during the 2008-09 season netting 3 goals and adding 5 assists for 8 points.

Boston inked defenseman Drew Fata to a 1 year deal on Tuesday July 7. Monetary and other terms of the deal have not yet been released. The tough blueliner has only ever played in the NHL for the Isles despite having signed with the Phoenix Coyotes after the 2007-08 season. Originally picked in the 3rd Round, 86th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Fata eventually signed with the Islanders and played in 8 games over 2 seasons scoring 1 goal and 1 assist for 2 points.

Goaltender Yann Danis signed with the rival New Jersey Devils on Friday July 10. Terms of the contract have not yet been released. With backup goalies Scott Clemmensen bailing ship and Kevin Weekes in limbo Danis may have lined himself up to be Martin Brodeur's new backup tender. Considering Danis came into last season with only 6 games of NHL experience under his belt he increased his ability exponentially with 31 appearances (29 starts) compiling a 10-17-3 record with a 2.86 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Originally an unsigned pick up by the Montreal Canadiens Danis has had the privilege to play for the Blue & Orange and the Rouge, Blanc et Bleu. He has a career 13-19-3 record in 37 games (34 starts) with a 2.84 save percentage, a .910 save percentage and 3 shutouts.

Check back soon for more signings and movements at FIW.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Front Office: Tom Fitzgerald

Former Islander winger Tom Fitzgerald signed on as the new Pittsburgh Penguins Assistant General Manager on Friday. Fitz weighed continuing to coach or return to management after becoming an assistant coach with Pens Cup winning rookie coach Dan Bylsma. Fitzgerald's primary objective will be to track and cultivate prospects here and abroad. A former 1st Round pick, Fitz was chosen 17th overall by the Isles in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. He played 1,097 games with the Isles, Panthers, Avalanche, Predators, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs and Bruins before retiring after the 2005-06 season. Over than time he notched 139 goals and 190 assists for 329 points.

UFA Signing: Bill Guerin

Pittsburgh winger Bill Guerin opted to take a large pay cut ($4.5 million down to $2 million) to stay with the championship team. Guerin notched 48 points (21 goals, 27 assists) on 78 games last season including 12 (5 goals, 7 assists) on 17 games with the Penguins after being trade near the deadline. Billy G then went on to score 7 goals and add 8 assists for 15 points on 24 playoff games as he captured his second Stanley Cup and first since he was a member of the 1995 New Jersey Devils. An 1,185 game veteran, Guerin was chosen in the 1st Round, 5th overall by the Devils in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. He has played for a wide variety of squads including the Devs, Oilers, Bruins, Stars, Sharks, Blues, Isles and Pens. On his career he has an impressive 408 goals and 403 assists for 811 points.

Former Islander UFAs and Signings

With the free agency market having opened on July 1 things have been busy for Former Islanders. Here is a look at the action to date:

Edmonton signed defenseman/winger Jason Strudwick to a 1 year deal worth $700K after the 12 year veteran put up a career best 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists) on 71 games last season. A fusion player who can play the blueline or a 4th line winger role has played in 559 games for the Isles, Canucks, Blackhawks, Rangers and Oilers. Over that span Strud has posted 13 goals and 34 assists for 47 points. Strudwick was original taken in the 3rd Round, 63rd overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Islanders.

Veteran defenseman Adrian Aucoin bailed on Calgary and is heading to the Phoenix Coyotes on a 1 year, $2.25 million deal. Aucoin had spent the last 2 seasons with the Flames after suffering back injuries as captain in Chicago. Aucoin has revived his career and last season posted a respectable 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) on 81 games. Originally taken in the 5th Round, 117th overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Canucks, Aucoin has played for the 'Nucks, Lightning and Isles as well as the Blackhawks and Flames. Aucoin has played in 851 games scoring 108 goals and adding 228 assists for 336 points. He has posted back-to-back 10 goal seasons for only the second time in his career.

Winger Ruslan Fedotenko opted to take a pay cut if that meant staying with the championship Pittsburgh Penguins as the forward signed off on a 1 year deal worth $1.8 million, a nearly half a million dollar cut from last year's contract. Fedo played well in his first season in Pitt notching 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists) on 65 injury-shortened games. He also notched 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) in the team's 24 game playoff run. A 597 game veteran, Fedo has 139 goals and 139 assists for 278 points and can now boast of his 2 Stanley Cup rings. Fedotenko has played for the Flyers, Lightning, Isles and Pens.

The Colorado Avalanche have offloaded "Captain Canada" Ryan Smyth and his hearty $6.5 million dollars due next year and the $10 million due for the next 2 years after that in exchange for Los Angeles defensemen Tom Preissing, Kyle Quincey and a 5th Round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Smyth played well this past year leading the team with 59 points (26 goals, 33 assists) on 77 games but never really met up to the Avs' expectations as the team has failed to make the playoffs for 2 straight years. On the flipside the woeful and youthful Kings have been trying to bolster their team with a veteran presence. A 920 game veteran Smyth has 310 goals and 350 assists for 660 points on his career. Originally selected in the 1st Round, 6th overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Smyth played his first 12 seasons in the league with the Edmontion Oilers before going to the Isles late in the 2006-07 season. Smyth bailed on the Isles lures to keep him and opted for a 5 year deal with Avalanche and now finds himself in exile from the Mile High City after a failed experiment. Smyth was one of the major catalysts as the Oil made it to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final - the closest taste of success for the vaunted winger.

A pair of notable FIs have decided to take their chances at arbitration. Young d-man Denis Grebeshkov has spurned Edmonton's lowball offers and has decided to leave the decision up to the league about how much he deserves. Greb is coming off a breakout year in which he compiled 39 points (7 goals, 32 assists) on 72 games. He now has 176 games under his belt with 10 goals and 53 assists for 63 points. A former 1st Round pick, Grebeshkov was taken 18th in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. Greb has played with the Kings, Isles and Oil. Slightly more seasoned is Chicago d-man Aaron Johnson who is looking for a pay raise. Johnson had a hot start last season with the Blackhawks before tailing off midway through and then being demoted. He notched 3 goals and added 5 assists for 8 points on 38 games. Johnson has played in 184 games scoring 10 goals and adding 26 assists for 36 points. Johnson was originally taken in the 3rd Round, 85th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He has suited up for the BJs, Isles and 'Hawks.

Check back soon as the players continue to fall into place for the 2009-2010 season.