7 Moves the New York Islanders Should Make This Offseason
Success is often built in the offseason, especially if a team is coming off a rough campaign. A record of 34-37-11 qualifies as a pretty tough season.
In such circumstances, it's necessary to make changes, no matter how good the young core is becoming. I'm not saying to dismantle it, but the Islanders could use some new faces, as well as some addition by subtraction.
1. Re-Sign P.A. Parenteau
This should be one of the Islanders' first orders of business. Parenteau has been a force on offense.
In the past season, he had 18 goals and 49 assists for a total of 67 points. Parenteau may sometimes take a sloppy penalty, but you should be willing to sacrifice that for his offense output.
He's versatile and can play on just about any line. That's huge for a team that depends on the top line of John Tavares, Matt Moulson and whomever plays with them.
If Parenteau continues to play well on the second line, it would be a huge boost to the Islanders' depth. He helps make players around him better.
The Isles have abundant room under the salary cap, so signing Parenteau to a multi-year deal for about $3.2 million should be pretty easy.
Needless to say, Parenteau is an important part of the Islanders' core.
2. Drop a Few of the Unproductive Veterans
This is what I meant by addition by subtraction.
Finding a way to get rid of Jay Pandolfo, Marty Reasoner, Mark Eaton, Steve Staios and Milan Jurcina would be a great boost to the franchise.
Luckily, all but Reasoner are free agents. So the Islanders could just chose not to re-sign them.
Getting rid of Reasoner could be more difficult. The Islanders should find a way to trade him for even a small gain. If not, it'd be a smart choice to send him to the AHL if he continues to under-perform.
3. Re-Sign Matt Martin
Another player the Islanders need to re-sign is Matt Martin.
He provides offensive depth on the fourth line, But the main reason for re-signing him is that Martin has consistently been one of the NHL leaders in hits, if not the actual leader.
He brings a physical presence to the Islanders and adds an element of grit He's an important part of the Isles. Management would be making a mistake if it let Martin walk.
4. Let Al Montoya Walk
The Islanders have finally found stability between the pipes.
Evgeni Nabokov will certainly lead the charge next season. And I believe it's time for Kevin Poulin to be a full-time NHL back-up while Nabby is still here to teach him.
Montoya finished the season with a sluggish 9-11-5 record, a save percentage of .893 and a goals-against-average of 3.10.
He's a free agent, so the Isles have the option of letting him walk. Of course, there's the option of signing him in order to trade him for some return value.
Either way, it's time to part ways with Montoya. He hasn't been the same since a collision with Evander Kane left him with a concussion. It is especially time with Nabokov at the helm and Poulin and Anders Nilsson waiting in the wings.
5. Don't Let Rick DiPietro Be a Walk-on
The Islanders need to explore all their options in regard to Rick DiPietro. He's been an enigma for Islanders fans. The only thing they want is for the DP era to come to an end.
There's always the option of a buyout. But if DiPietro proves he can still play during the preseason, the Islanders should let him back up Evgeni Nabokov.
But the Islanders absolutely cannot let DiPietro walk on to the club. Only if he earns it, let him have playing time. If not, there's always the option of a healthy scratch or demotion to the AHL.
6. Throw Money at Top Free-Agent Defensemen
The Islanders have more than $31 million in cap space. And they'll have more once they let some of their free agents into the pool.
So they may as well take advantage of that.
Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are some of the biggest names in free agency on the blue line.
The Islanders need to throw a wad of cash at, at least, one of them. The Isles have a troubled blue line. Mark Streit isn't as good as he once was and should take a demotion to a lower pairing.
The Islanders would be making the right choice by letting Eaton, Jurcina and Staios walk.
Weber or Suter would be a great addition to the lineup offensively and defensively. The Islanders need to try their best to bring one of them here.
7. Throw Money at Top Free-Agent Forwards
Okay, okay, this could have been condensed into one slide. But due to how big the names are, it's fitting they get their own slide.
The two biggest forwards on the market are Zach Parise and Rick Nash. Any Isles fan would be drooling at the thought of getting either to play with Tavares and Moulson.
Realistically, the Islanders don't have a huge chance at Nash. But they have a lot of room in cap space, and it'd be certainly worth entering the sweepstakes.
Going after Parise would be more realistic and just as effective. Maybe the thought of getting to play in New York with stars like Johnny and Matt would entice not just Parise but the other three free agents I've listed the past two slides.
The Islanders are certainly going to be seeing brighter days soon. With the thought of a lot of cash and being a part of the team's turnaround, free agents might want to come to the Islanders.
Not getting at least one of the four free agents would be a disappointment.