With the 2008 NHL Draft in the history books, it is time to look to the next big date on the NHL schedule. The Free Agency signing period starts on July 1. As it stands right now the Islanders actually are going to be forced to raise thier payroll to the new league minimum of..(Dr Evil voice) 40.7 million dollars. How is the team going to spend that money? Here is a look at who on the forward position is out there that the Islanders could be looking at via free agency.
1 - Micheal Ryder (W) - He is still only 27 years old and has proven that he can score at this level. He wanted a 3-5 year deal with the Habs last season and they forced him to take a one year deal at around 2.9 million and he responded with the worst season of his pro career. Whether he was either disenchanted with the contract status or the team wanted to bury him for the way the contract negotiations wen't, Ryder's stock plummeted this last season. What will it take to get him? Probably a 3 year deal at around 4 million per season.
2 - Cory Stillman (W) - At 35 years of age Stillman is still a viable scoring threat. His presence on LW could create a decent veteran top line of Stillman, Guerin and Comrie. What it would take to get him? 2 years, 8 million.
3 - Radim Vrbata (W) Also at 27 years of age Vrbata picked a great time to have his career season entering free agency. The question is wether the 27 goals he scored this past season will wind up being a career high or the launching pad to bigger and better things. What would it take to get him? 4 years 18 Million.
4 - Ladislav Nagy (W) He is 31 and more of an enigma than Vrbata. He has the talent to become a solid performer but injuries and inconsistency have him branded as both unmotivated and injury prone. Think Oleg Kvasha with a bit more talent. What would it take to get him? 1 year 3.5 million.
5 - Sergei Samsonov (W) Now 30, Samsonov placed himself back on the map of relevancy after absolutely bombing out in Chicago last season. No goals and 4 points with the Hawks had him thumped out of town and he found a home in Carolina, netting 14 goals and 32 points in 38 games with the Canes. He has offensive ability and has scored over 70 points twice in his career before inuries took a toll on his career. He seems to be healthy again and is producing. What would it take to get him? 3 years 15 million.
6 - Daymond Langkow (C) At 32, Langkow may be the best kept secret in the NHL. He has put together 6 solid seasons of hockey in which he has averaged 27 goals and 62 points with the Flames and Coyotes. Signing him would give the Islanders 2 good centerman and 2 decent lines to generate offense. He has proven he can be a number 1 guy. What would it take to get him? 4 years 20 million.
***EDIT - Langkow resigned with the Flames along with Eric Nystrom. So much for seeing Nystrom in Islander colors again. Todd Bertuzzi is being bought out of the final year of his contract. I doubt he would come to the Islanders at this point, but hes going to be available.***
Coming next - Defenseman free agents, the endless Mcabe rumors, and some pipe dream free agents.