NHL 2012 Free Agency: 5 Free Agents the Islanders Should Make a Claim For

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IJuly 7, 2012

NHL 2012 Free Agency: 5 Free Agents the Islanders Should Make a Claim For

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    It's been a few days since the Islanders have made any moves regarding free agency. So far, they've added Brad Boyes, Matt Carkner, and Eric Boulton to the 2012-13 squad.

    There are still a lot of free agents out there for the Islanders to go after to bolster their team.

    Some things the Islanders should look at improving are their offensive and defensive depth.

    While some of these players might be a bit more unlikely to be playing for Long Island next season, the Islanders should definitely take a stab at acquiring them.

1. Tim Stapleton

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    The almost 30 year old center is coming off the best season in his short NHL career. In 63 games with the Winnipeg Jets, Tim Stapleton put up 11 goals and 16 assists.

    He would be a good third or fourth line center that could replace Marty Reasoner if the Islanders opt to trade him or not accept him onto the squad.

    He would be a good linemate to Michael Grabner and Nino Niederreiter or possibly a free agent, and could be an option to score almost 15 goals.

    He didn't have a lot of talent to work with on the Jets forward corps either, so he'd be a nice target for Garth Snow.

2. Kyle Wellwood

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    Kyle Wellwood is a very similar but possibly better option to Stapleton.

    Like Stapleton, Wellwood (29) will be in his prime and his coming off the best season of his short NHL career with the Jets.

    In 2011-12, Wellwood scored 18 goals and 29 assists in 77 games.

    He is also a center, so the Islanders would not sign both him and Stapleton if either.

    Just like Stapleton, Wellwood would be a great depth center that could play well with Grabner and Niederreiter/FA.

    He would be good to score within the 15-20 goal range.

3. Matt Gilroy

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    Matt Gilroy is still a pretty unestablished talent, and will be turning 28 by the time the season starts.

    He isn't offensively overwhelming, but he will show up on the score-sheet every now and then.

    In 194 regular season games with the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators, Gilroy has 10 goals and 36 assists.

    He would be a good option to supply the Isles with defensive depth and could step up in the event of a blue line injury.

    Entering his prime, who knows? Gilroy could surprise us.

4. Andrei Kostitsyn

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    The 27 year old left-winger Andrei Kostitsyn would be a nice pick-up for the Islanders.

    This would be more of a longshot than the others, but Kostitsyn would be a nice signing for a couple of years until prospects like Ryan Strome, Kirill Kabanov and Brock Nelson are ready to join the team.

    He would fill nicely in on the second or third line. The three time 20 goal scorer still has top-six potential in the right situation.

    If the Islanders were to acquire him, his placement would be up to Jack Capuano.

    The risk coming with Kostitsyn would be his attitude. He was suspended by the Nashville Predators when he and Alex Radulov were caught breaking curfew during the playoffs, being spotted at a bar at five in the morning.

5. Alexander Semin

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    The Islanders are leaning towards not making Alexander Semin an offer. But it's still not too late, and anything can happen.

    The Isles should definitely make a pitch to Semin. He would help them reach the cap floor, for starters. He's also a definite top six forward. Whether he plays with John Tavares and Matt Moulson to stack the first line or play on the second line for balance is up to Capuano.

    He is arguably the most talented free agent out there. In six seasons with the Washington Capitals, Semin has never scored less than 21 goals. He's scored over 30 goals three times, and over 40 goals once.

    He's been criticized for his lack of heart, but all he may need is a change of scenery.

    He's a dominant left-winger that would play really well with Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey.

    The Isles should take the gamble and sign Semin to a hefty deal. For his talent, and the cap floor. It may be unlikely, but it could happen. It would also probably ensure the Islanders a seed in the playoffs.