There is plenty to discuss when it comes to the New York Islanders lately; tonight they host the all but forgotten 2007 trade deadline acquisition of Ryan Smyth and the Colorado Avalanche; our captain is floating in trade limbo as March 4th approaches; Sean Bergenheim is elevating his game to a potential leadership role; and of course, more trades are probably on the way.
It's hard to say what Smyth's return to the Island will bring for fans in attendance for tonight's game. It was an emotional trade that brought about plenty of tears for the guy they called Captain Canada, a home-grown Edmonton Oiler at heart that was devastated to leave his home team. All I had to see was the press conference where he said goodbye to his friends and fans stating that he was going to win the cup on the island and then bring it back to Edmonton as he swallowed his cries at the microphone. Right there I knew it would be a long-shot for this guy to re-sign with the Isles once he hit free agency.
With that being said, I still think it was the right move. For the first time in years our team had a GM that had the guts to do something risky, and it wasn't at the greatest expense. The worst that we lost was a first round pick. Ryan O'Marra still looks to be a first-round bust and Robert Nilsson isn't the dynamic forward that we all thought he could be, yet.
For me, tonight is just another game. But I'm sure he'll get his fare share of boo's.
On to Bill Guerin. Oh captain my captain. Where is he going? Does he even know? Does anyone know?! This has to be one of the strangest trades in Islander history. To intensify the drama, Guerin was pulled from the pre-game skate the other night when the Isles played host to the Buffalo Sabres. Jaffe and Rose continued to speculate that he had been traded, and every online source has it that he is indeed prepared for a trade but the mystery team that he is going to still has work to do to complete it. So what's the hold up, you ask? It could be to free up salary, negotiate a contract extension, who knows? Either way it looks like Guerin will most definitely be gone by March 4th.
However, I wouldn't let this delay get a lot of fans' hopes up thinking that this is for something bigger than a pick and a prospect. Sure, it's possible, I guess. But to me it just doesn't seem like Bill Guerin at the age of 38, although a valuable veteran, would attract that much for something on a larger scale.
One important thing to pay attention to in the middle of this giant trade mess is that a player was able to step up and take control of the void left after the pre-game skate, and that was Sean Bergenheim. This kid has been on fire lately. Not only does he seem to get a breakaway every game, but he's doing a lot of the little things that contribute to his point production. Simply put, he does NOT stop skating. It seems that Gordon has noticed that Sean deserves to be more than a winger on the checking line, which is crucial since Bergy felt unsure of his role on this team. The way he continues to play and handle more minutes and opportunities will determine whether or not he is capable of being the player he's been as of late on a full-time basis.
Either way, it's great to say that not only do we have the pleasure of watching Kyle Okposo turn into the player we all want and need, but now we can say the same for Bergenheim.
And of course, today is March 2nd...and that means the trade deadline is only two days away. Comrie and Campoli have skipped town, Guerin's bags are packed with an airline ticket ready and waiting, so who's next? Snow recently stated in Newsday that there are about eight players that have attracted interest from around the league. My guess is that those players are Weight, Guerin (obviously), Park, Hilbert, Martinek, Witt, McAmmond, and Hunter. I don't expect players like Park or Hunter to go anywhere, but I certainly feel that any of the others have a 50/50 chance of being moved. I'm not suggesting that this means six players on the current roster will be definitely traded, and due to cap restrictions there won't be. But Snow's early activity and desire to add to the draft is causing me to change my original opinion: I think Snow will be making a few more moves even after the Guerin trade is resolved.
If I hear or see anything, you can bet that I will post it immediately. In the mean time, let's hope this Guerin trade gets sorted out so the team and its fans can continue to move on.