Multiple sources, including TSN.ca, are reporting that New York Islanders GM Garth Snow is interested in bringing back Alexei Yashin for the upcoming season.
When I read these reports, I had to double check my calendar. I hadn't slept until April, had I? Surely this must be a joke. But the rumor seems to have (a lot) of merit. Snow was quoted by Newsday earlier today, stating the following:
"I've had discussions with both (Yashin's agent) Mark and Alexei. I'd rather keep those conversations private, but Alexei has been skating at our practice rink in Syosset, and he looks great. I've been on record saying I'd explore all options and any player that would improve our team and help us make that step."
Snow has taken some unusual routes to improve his team, namely scouring the wavier wire to acquire talent. And so far, his methods have worked to a degree.
But through solid drafting and deft pickups, the Islanders actually have a decent looking hockey squad.
They are young and exciting. Everything a rebuilding team wants to be, correct?
They don't have a skater on the team that is older than 34, and almost all of their impact players are 25 years old or less. Matt Moulson, the team's second leading scorer, is one of the older skaters on the team. And he's a whopping 27 years old.
The Islanders seem well are their way to finding an identity.
They have their cornerstone player in John Tavares. A player who I honestly think could contend for a scoring title within the next few seasons.
Michael Grabner has made Snow look more like Kenny Holland, blowing up the score sheets since being added for nothing from waivers. Kyle Okposo seems poised for a rebound season and is an excellent top-six skater moving forward.
Add in players such as Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau, and there is a lot of reason to believe for the Islanders and their faithful moving forward. And they also boast top-10 prospect Nino Niederreiter, who could very well make the NHL leap out of camp this fall.
That's a lot of youthful vigor, talent and firepower sitting in one locker room.
According to Hockey's Future, offense isn't even the strong suit on Long Island. The team has focused on drafting high-end blueliners, and players like Travis Hamonic, Calvin de Haan and Ty Wishart are have the potential to be impact blueliners.
All of this is a long winded way of saying that Alexei Yashin brings absolutely nothing to the table for the New York Islanders. At least nothing that is worth what he'd take away. He's aging, has a terrible reputation, and would take a roster spot away from one of the kids who should be playing in the top-six.
All the way through last season, Yashin has been the highest paid Islander player. Which is ridiculous when you think about it. He's played even less than Rick DiPietro and made more money. Wrap your head around that.
My logic here is simple.
It didn't work the first time for a reason. This isn't Chris Osgood returning to Detroit or Ryan Smyth going home to the Oilers. Google Alexei Yashin Sucks and you'll see plenty of Islanders fans that were calling for the buyout and were pretty stoked when it happened.
With so much on the line for the Islanders, why would Snow pursue this angle now? Yashin could very well come back to the NHL and post 50 points, but at what cost?
If I'm an Islanders season ticket holder (or even a guy who heads down to three or four games a year), my stomach turns at the possibility of seeing No. 79 back on the ice for the Islanders.
I see nothing constructive here. Nothing.
He was widely viewed as a locker room cancer, and an enigma when he left the NHL to play in Russia. While is time in the KHL may have changed this, I wouldn't bank on it if I were Snow. Not that I am. I wouldn't make a deal to return Yashin to my team if I were a GM on NHL 2011.
Whatever ends up happening, I hope that this is some kind of odd stunt on either end. Mostly for the sake of the Islanders. The team is too young, too promising, and this year is too important for the future of the franchise to mess around with a guy like Yashin again.
The people of Long Island have an important vote coming up soon to keep the Islanders put. They should get their "no" votes out of their systems with this Yashin deal, and vote "yes" on Aug. 1st.
Franklin Steele is a Featured Columnist, and a syndicated writer for the Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for articles and random musings. Follow @FranklinSteele1
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