There is a lot of obvious attention being paid to the playoff series' that are at hand, and when it comes to Islander country most are focused on the possibility of obtaining John Tavares. But today I am going to take a look at the impending UFA's on the roster and give my reasons for why they should or should not return.
The first two that I will rule out are Yann Danis and Joey MacDonald, and that is only because I wrote in a previous blog that the Isles should find a suitable back-up that has consistency. Both goaltenders showed signs of brilliance throughout the year, including Joey's voted league best save for the 08-09 season in his shutout performance against the Red Wings. However, both of them faltered when the season was in its final days, showing they could not handle the pressure of securing a permanent job with the club as DP's back-up.
Dean McAmmond: At first I was all for this guy returning to the Isles line up next year. He is a veteran center that was starting to add some points once he joined the team. Plus the fact that he grew up an Islanders fan was something I liked too, but the team looks to be going younger with the likelihood of either Tavares, Hedman, or even Duchene joining the team next year. With Weight already re-signed and Nielsen and Bailey here as well, it doesn't seem like there will be room up the middle for Dean to play. If the Isles go with Hedman though, I would not be surprised if the Isles elect to have McAmmond come back and fill in the role left by Mike Sillinger.
Andy Hilbert: There are a lot of mixed opinions in regards to good'ol Andy. Many thought that he should have been let go after last season and the season before that due to his consistent struggle to hit the net and score goals. He is a very talented penalty killer and grinder who was on pace to have a great year before suddenly dropping off the score sheet. In fairness to Andy, he did get bitten from the injury bug for extensive periods of time, but I also feel that the team can part ways with him to open a roster spot for hopefully someone who can score goals. I'm not saying I want the Isles to sign a Hossa-like player. I'd even be happy with giving Maxim Afinegnov a chance to revive himself with the Isles, and if it means cutting ties with Andy, so be it. Despite that being said, if he is re-signed and does return as one of Gordon's Boston boys, well then no harm no foul.
Mike Sillinger: Although there hasn't been any official word, I think most Isles fans expect to see that Silly will be retiring from his NHL playing days this summer. His injuries caught up to him and he was never able to fully recover from the hip problem that sidelined him two seasons ago and was forced to almost miss all but seven games of this year. He was a great leader with this team and one that would have seriously helped the youth movement. A probable unfortunate ending for a great NHL forward.
Thomas Pock: I do not think there is any doubt that Pock should not be with the team next year. The Isles already are committed to Witt, Martinek, Sutton, Meyer, Gervais, Streit, and Hillen as the seventh dman, assuming a few injuries cut across the blue line next year. Throw in that Hedman or another defenseman on the Isles depth charts might get a good look with the team as well. He didn't add to much to this team, therefore I do not see a reason to bring him back.
Nate Thompson: I will admit that I am unsure if Thompson is eligible for UFA status as he may just be a potential RFA. Like Andy Hilbert, (only less talented in my opinion), I don't think the Isles need to bring him back. They have players like Iggulden or Joenssu that can come up and play when needed. A roster spot on a rebuilding team should not be entirely devoted to someone who is incapable of putting up numbers and only kills penalties, minus Tim Jackman as he has the fists to make up for it. However, like Andy, he is one of Gordon's Boston boys who might be back for that reason alone.
As you can see, I expect, (and hope) for the Isles to part ways with all of their impending free agents. Doug Weight and Tim Jackman were the only ones I wanted to see re-signed and that is what the Isles have done thus far.
What do you think the Isles should do with the list mentioned above?