As we inch closer to August, there are still plenty of quality free agents left on the free agent market. Many of these players could come to Long Island, and help take some of the pressure off of the Isles' younger players during this re-building process.
One thing we did learn from the Marty Biron signing last week (aside from the health of goalie Rick DiPietro) is that GM Garth Snow still has some feelers out on the market. If a player is willing to agree to a deal on Snow's terms, then the Isles might find a match.
With the summer half over, Snow may just find a player or two willing to agree to a short term, relatively cheap deal, because players don't want training camps to begin, while being without a contract.
Between today and tomorrow, I will be doing a two-part series with a list of players still available who the Isles could possibly target. Today's Part One will be a list of forwards, and tomorrow's Part Two will be a list of defensemen.
Alex Tanguay: [16 Goals, 25 Assists and 41 Points in 50 Games]
Alex Tanguay who many said had a down year last season, still managed to put up 41 points in 50 games. He always has been a solid playmaker and has had at least 35 assists in every season, up until last year, which was cut short by injuries.
Tanguay can also put the puck in the net too, as he has cracked the 20 goal mark in five of his nine NHL seasons.
Tanguay could be the perfect player to feed the puck to John Tavares.
The only problem with Tanguay, is the type of contract he is looking to receive. He wants a long term deal in the $4 million range. This is the exact opposite of the kind of contract Snow is looking to sign players to, which is a short term, relatively cheap deal.
Unless the market for Tanguay goes completely dead, I wouldn't expect him to sign with the New York Islanders.
Jason Williams: [19 Goals, 28 Assists and 47 Points in 80 Games]
Jason Williams did not have any eye popping stat totals. Still, his 19 goals would have been enough to lead the Isles in goals last season (Kyle Okposo lead the team with 18).
Williams is still young, as he is only 28 years old and would fit in well on either of the Isles' top two lines, to take some of the pressure off of Tavares and Okposo.
Todd Bertuzzi: [15 Goals, 29 Assists and 44 Points in 66 Games]
Todd Bertuzzi at the age of 34, is not the same player he once was in Vancouver.
What Bertuzzi could offer the Isles is something that this team sorely lacks, which is size up front.
The Isles also need someone who will make the opposition think twice about taking runs at Tavares or Okposo. Bertuzzi could do that if he is playing on a line with either, or both of them.
Having a big guy like Bertuzzi could also help the Isles' anemic power play. He can go to the front of the net and create screens so that defenseman Mark Streit can use his booming shot from the point.
Andre Roy: [Three Goals, Zero Assists and Three Points with 83 PIM in 44 Games]
As I mentioned above, the Isles sorely lack size and grit on this team. They also lack a heavy weight, who can answer the bell if someone on the other team tries to push the Isles' younger players around.
Andre Roy has been in the league a long time, and is one of the few heavy weights still available on the UFA market.
The Atlantic Division will be tough, with guys like Donald Brashear on the New York Rangers, Chris Pronger and Arron Asham in Philadelphia, Mike Rupp and Eric Godard in Pittsburgh, and David Clarkson in New Jersey.
The Isles have to at least consider Roy, so that they are not pushed around in all of these games against their division rivals.
Maxim Afinogenov: [Six Goals, 14 Assists and 20 Points in 48 Games]
Maxim Afinogenov had a horrid year last season, and a bad year the previous year as well.
He could be a wild card though, because he is only two years removed from a 61-point season.
It just might be time for a change of scenery for Afinogenov, who has played his entire nine year career with the Buffalo Sabres.
The Isles could offer Afinogenov a chance to get his career back on track with a one-year deal, and an opportunity to play on one of the top two lines.
If Afinogenov is healthy and plays well, the Isles could move him at the deadline for a pick or prospect if they are out of the playoff race.
If he doesn't play well, then he would be out of Long Island at the end of the year anyway when his contract expires.
So there's my list of forwards the Isles could be interested in. Tomorrow I will have Part Two, the list of remaining defensemen the Isles could possibly target.
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