The summer started off with the possibility of the Islanders not selecting John Tavares first overall and taking either Victor Hedman or Matt Duchene. But they did what was right and took the kid who has been watched and predicted for the past four years to go at the top with their first choice. Since then the Isles have been rumored to be in on the Sedin twins, Mike Komisarek, Alex Tanguay, and even Dany Heatley.
Let me just say this...Heatley is not coming here.
The Sedins and Komisarek have already signed elsewhere with Tanguay still floating in free agent limbo waiting for a contract.
According to B.D. Gallof's blog at www.islandersindependent.com
, Tanguay's agent says that they have not received a phone call back from the Islanders. However, on Chris Botta's blog at www.islanderspointblank.com
, it has been stated that Tanguay has been calling teams on his own, including the New York Islanders.
Tanguay would be a great addition to a young blue and orange team. He would look great alongside John Tavares. But once again, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
Over the past few years the team has struggled to make the playoffs while fighting for almost a decade with the Town of Hempstead for approval of the Lighthouse Project, seemingly allowing the Coliseum to rot with the disappointing seasons that pass. In that time frame, ignoring the trade that brought over Ryan Smyth, the Islanders have not had one established goal-scorer or star on this team. We've seen players such as Viktor Kozlov, Tom Poti, Sean Hill, Mike Sillinger, Bill Guerin, Doug Weight, and Mike Comrie get second chances to reestablish themselves in the league. Some of them have ended up staying here after doing so, while others have skipped town.
Last summer I called the Doug Weight signing before reading a rumor on any web-site or newspaper. I saw him as a potential target due to his relationship with Bill Guerin as well as the fact that he had a poor outing with the Blues and Ducks to finish the 2007-2008 year. Low and behold, he became the Isles first-line center and actually proved to be a very solid off-season acquisition.
So who do they sign this summer? (If anyone)
If anything I'm expecting them to follow the same route and sign a player or two who is looking for a chance to redeem themselves. Therefore, I would not be surprised at all if the Isles sign Maxim Afinogenov. His past two years with the Buffalo Sabres have been, well, pretty bad. He used to be this high flying skater that would zip down the ice and score some high-light reel goals. Being that his stats have faded, he is not going to be someone who is on the top of many teams' lists. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up in Washington to play with the European crowd they got going over there, but the Isles may start making inquiries to his services if they don't feel they can improve their roster through a trade or someone else on the market.
A trade is of course possible. Sutton, Tambellini, and Comeau are rumored to be on the block, and the fact that Comeau rejected his qualifying offer makes this intriguing. I hope they don't trade Blake, he seems to have good potential to be a third line grinder or maybe even a top-six forward. It's possible he's just holding out for a one-way deal (which I think he has earned) but maybe he's already expecting more money and a longer contract.
I feel that Sutton and Tambellini can go at any point. Andy is a reliable defenseman when he isn't injured. And Tamby, well...do I have to say much?
It will be interesting to see what Garth does over the next few weeks...but I wouldn't hold your breath on anything serious.