"Hey, didn't we buy you out for a reason?"
I guess that's not the mindset that Garth Snow and Charles Wang have when it comes to former NHLer Alexei Yashin. Rumours say that Yashin and his agent have been talking to New York Islanders' management about a possible return to the NHL.
My question is to the Islanders is "Why are you even debating this?!"
The one smart move I've seen come from Snow and Wang was buying out the contract that Mike Millbury made during his tenure are Isles' GM. Yashin had his days in Ottawa, where he was the team's first overall selection in their modern day history. While playing for the Senators Yashin was one of the leaders on a young expansion team, and he did more than his fair share to get his team on the map.
But then again, there was a reason that the Sens also dealt him. His contributions during the regular season were great, but in the playoffs they were held to a minimum. Ottawa ended up trading him and Bill Muckalt to NYI for the 2nd overall pick in 2002 (which turned out to be Jason Spezza) and Zdeno Chara.
Talk about roberry. And who's Bill Muckalt anyways?
By the time Yashin was wearing the blue and orange his passion for the game seemed to virtually fly out the window. He was signed for 10 years for a combined $87.5 million. The contract at the time lead many to say "Wow...Millbury has really lost it". Safe to say that his stay in Long Island didn't last too long after that.
Enter GM Garth Snow. Isn't this guy your backup goalie?
His hiring turned heads after former Stanley Cup-winning GM Neil Smith was dismissed after 41 days of being the Isles' GM. This move didn't quit stun the hockey world, but it was a head-scratcher for about 95% of fans.
However, Snow's first order of business was to lock up his starting goalie and good friend Rick DiPietro to a 15-year $67.5 million deal. So far this move looks to be smart because DiPietro is beginning to establish himself as an elite goaltender. That is the number one key to winning a championship in the NHL.
Snow then used the cap space late in the 2006-07 season to acquire Marc-Andre Bergeron, Richard Zednik and Ryan Smyth. This was short lived as the Isles' were bounced in round one to the Buffalo Sabres. Despite that, Snow proved that he had management skill and knew how to use it.
Following the season's end, Snow and Wang bought Alexei Yashin out of his lucrative deal. His departure would remain to take up salary cap space, but gave way to find a new face to the franchise.
I guess he didn't have time to get around to that.
The Islanders off-season acquisitions included forwards Mike Comrie, Bill Guerin and Ruslan Fedotenko. These three went on to become the first line on Long Island. Comrie finished the season with a team-high 49 points, while Guerin buried a team-high 23 goals.
This team is drafting 5th in Ottawa this weekend for a reason. They need help big time. But bringing back Yashin is not the answer, nor should it even be considered. I can't see how either side of this situation is even pondering what it would be like to have him return to the Nassau Coliseum this fall.
New York had one of the best dynasties in NHL history, winning their only four Stanley Cups in a row. Since the days of Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin and Bob Nystrom it seems like this organization has sunk to the bottom of the Long Island Sound.
If Garth Snow, Charles Wang and the other members of the Islanders' management agree to bring Alexei Yashin back for the remainder of their contracts, it could quite possibly be nominated for worst sports move of all-time. If they were smart they could use whatever money they have to bring in a proven goal scorer this off-season. They should have never let Jason Blake go.
Well, they also shouldn't have let the Spezza pick and Chara go, too. But getting back to Yashin, this move would only enrage the fans, and would not even come close to paying dividends for the franchise.
New York Islanders, please don't take him back. For the sake of the game and your history, your franchise can easily do better than to have an underachiever come back to the team that bought him out.
And to Yashin, do us all a favor and stay in Russia. If you're making the dollars you think you deserve there, then don't come back to our league.