By this time tomorrow, many Isles fans may be sitting at their computers disappointed with lackluster results on the day of Free Agency...but many may not. Snow has all ready set up the safety net for the strong possibility of his club not signing any marquee free agents. We saw last year's Free Agency period kick start many Isles fans into an uproar, demanding refunds on their season tickets since they didn't know they bought a year's supply of seat savers at a Sound Tiger's game. This is causing Snow, and the fans of his franchise, to expect the same to happen all over again.
However, I don't buy into all of this "no one wants to come here so we're not going to try" nonsense. Yes, we may be a hard sell but Neil Smith didn't have trouble bringing in Poti, Kozlov, Witt, Sillinger, and Simon. Poti and Kozlov had career years, Silly has been fantastic, and Witt was someone several teams were after and he chose us because of Ted Nolan. Now he is less recognized as a goon and better known for his defensive game.
I know we're not a favorite amongst free agents, but I really think we're still watching a rookie GM that does not know how to bring in talent, work trades, and sell his product - hence all these pre-meditated excuses.
But with last year in mind and all of that being said, this is what I am predicting to occur tomorrow or in the days that follow.
We may see Avery joining our roster. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Avery is a huge mistake. One reason why: his new teammates, and make that all 19 of them, WOULD HATE HIM. The entire league hates him so that sounds like I'm stating something everyone isn't aware of...but think back to the Isles Rags rivalry. Our team hates him more than the other 28. In addition, we all ready had one black eye from Chris Simon, why blacken the other with Avery and his ridiculous antics? He's not a team player. He cares only about himself and the attention he gets from the public.
The team would be better off signing someone like Jody Shelley: an agitator that willingly fights as well. Avery doesn't do that. Cote wouldn't be a bad idea either.
However, I think an enforcer is the last thing the Isles are concerned with. I predict them to try to sign Huselius and lose out, try to sign Morrison (I think this is 50-50, I heard it was down between us and Columbus...if I was a betting man I'd say he chooses Columbus). If those two don't pan out I wouldn't be surprised if we go after Stillman and/or Doug Weight.
Weight is as old as anything but from what I hear he's friends with Bill Guerin and that may be enough to get him here cheap to play center on the first line with at least one of our top prospects so Comrie can play better on the 2nd line. This is all speculation and probably the last thing I want to happen because Weight is so old, but given last year's Free Agency results I would not be surprised if this occurred.
We all know that we need someone who can QB the power play from the blue line. Nolan's doubt in our defense forced him to use Satan at the point. If he was out there with Bergeron it only set up a shorthanded frenzy. Hence why we dominated the league in shorthanded goals scored against.
I would love to sign Brian Campbell. Many have heard that he wants to stay close to Buffalo - this may give Snow something to work with. But I wouldn't hold our breaths. He's rumored to about five or six teams and the Isles aren't one of them. Anything can happen, but last year's results and Snow's inability to get the job done cause me to believe he'll be elsewhere.
Redden would be our next best bet, but the same can be said for him as well. Unless he has some sentimental value for playing with the team that drafted him (and traded him before he had a chance), I do not think we will see him in an Isles jersey. If Snow is set on this youth movement I would not be surprised if he targets Ron Hainsey. He's a young blueliner whose emerging as a top 4 dman that can play the power play. This could be a great signing if Snow finds a way to get the job done.
But honestly, I can't say I'm expecting the greatest summer of signings after last year's unfortunate turn-out. In the next 24 hours we'll know for sure.