Everyone loves a prediction. Right or wrong or indifferent predictions are all over the place right now. Everyone who thought they knew what the Islanders were planning on Draft Day got a smack in the face. We are in a full fledged rebuild people. Everything that happens from now on out is for the sole purpose of building this once proud franchise from the ground up. The only thing that will be recognizable in the next 3 years on the Island will be our goaltender, Rick Dipietro. Signed for the next 13 seasons and like him or not, he is our goaltender. Everything else is up for grabs people.
For the long term looking beyond this coming season the Islanders have merely and handful of players signed to long term deals that are definitely going to be a part of the team's long term vision. In other words they are signed to this season plus at least one more season. They are in no particular order (with the seasons left under contract in parentheses) Rick Dipetro(13) , Trent Hunter(5), Radek Martinek (3), Kyle Okposo (3), Jon Sim (2), Richard Park (2), Chris Campoli (2), Robin Figren (3), Jesse Joensuu (3), and Freddy Meyer (2). Thats 10 players. The team has 10 UFA's this season NONE of them will be re-signed and thats not including Shawn Bates who has already been let go. After this coming season, Bill Guerin, Brendan Witt, Mike Sillnger, Mike Comrie, Andy Hilbert and Tim Jackman will all probably be gone via Free Agency. The only two players that I believe has a realistic chance of resigning beyond next year are Comrie and Witt, but I would list that as unlikely. By this time in 2011, the team will be almost entirely composed of 2-4 year NHL players hopefully blossoming into an NHL power and the new arena should be nearing completion. THAT is the time to sprinkle in a high priced UFA, not tomorrow.
That being said, the team does have to meet the ridiculous new salary floor of 40.7 million dollars. Here come the predictions. This free agent season the Islanders will let go all of their 10 UFA's without so much as an offer. They will sign the following players -
Georges Laraque - (W) They need toughness to stop other teams from taking liberties with the kids. Snow specifically stated they would look for toughness. They do not get any tougher.
Ron Hainsey- (D) He is one of DP's best friends and a decent puck mover. Hey we have got to take it where we can get it and I'll take it. Now all we need is for DP to go and befriend Sydney Crosby and Joe Thornton.
Jan Hlavac - (W) Useless Filler, perfect for a rebuilding team.
Todd Fedoruk (W) Grind Grind Grind.
That is it. The rest of the roster will fill out with kids. We are in a full rebuild mode people, its time to accept the inevitable and hope that Snow's moves in the 2008 draft are remembered as the day the team turned around for good and not a day of missed opportunities. Hopefully if the team is going to stink, they stink bad enough to get us a shot at a 17 year old named John Tavares. If somehow it happens then happy days will be here again.
"What are your predictions for this fight"