Islanders GM Garth Snow is playing Poker again and he is not showing his hand again.
The Islanders have signed former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Biron. That my friends is a good thing, not a bad thing.
On the surface there are no negatives about the signing. What lies underneath however is another story.
Lets look at the surface then we will delve into what lies beneath.
First of all if Biron is on the Islanders he is obviously not on the Flyers. Everything I have read about Biron is that he is excellent in the locker room and a real team player that other players want to be around.
Why in God's name the Flyers did not try to work something out with Biron is beyond me. They sign Ray Emery who could not even get a job in the NHL last season and Brian Boucher and left Biron to twist.
There is no way Biron would have signed with the Flyers for the same offer and what he has done is make himself very attractive to possible trade teams if Rick DiPietro manages to come back to the Islanders healthy.
Fans of the Orange Crud do not agree and they are angry and I cannot blame them. They did not replace Biron with Patrick Roy, they replaced him with Ray Emery which is a roll of the dice on its best day.
Islander fans were concerned about the age of Dwayne Roloson. Well those concerns have been silenced by this signing.
Now lets get to what lies beneath.
There are only a few reasons for this deal to be made. Any one of them could be true.
1 - Despite what all are saying Rick Dipietro's health is obviously not what they are saying and his multiple knee and hip surgeries as well as his multiple concussions have taken their toll on Rick. If he cannot come back strong and healthy from this latest of three knee surgeries Rick will call it a career and retire.
Rick also just got married and as all married guys know I am sure his new bride does not want to see him risk further serious injury if his body cannot handle the rigors of the NHL.
DP would not be the first big NHL star to have to retire well before his time because of multiple serious injuries.
2 - Garth Snow wants to show DP who is running the show. Make no mistake. Garth Snow and Company were not happy with him last season when he insisted he was healthy and sat on the bench at the start of the season. It made them look bad like they could not or would not stand up to their biggest star and tell him to shut up and sit down.
Well, he came back way to early and injured himself again and would up in the operating room again, twice.
Rick is under contract for another 12 seasons for 54 million. No matter what you say that contract alone can make you feel as if you run the place. He can't be traded. He can't be bought out. The Islanders have another 4 years left to pay off their last long term buy out in Alexei Yashin.
What the Islanders can do is remind him who is boss by flexing their muscles and showing Rick who runs the show.
He can be put on waivers. He can be sent to the minors. They can make it a very long 12 years for Rick and now he knows it.
3 - Garth and Company already know DiPietro isn't coming back or if he does only has a year or two left in him.
This is all speculation but what if doctors have already told Rick that he cannot count on his knees and/or hips holding out long term? What if they told him he only has a couple of years at best with all of the surgeries he has had?
We all love the way DP plays with fire and passion. He made a commitment to the Islanders long term. He loves it on Long Island and wants to be a part of a winner. He throws his legs and arms and body around with reckless abandon in positions that quite frankly would put any one of us in the hospital if we attempted.
What if all of this has taken its toll on DP and severely shortened his career?
Why else do you sign two NHL veterans and draft 2 more goaltenders?
4 - It makes the rest of the available free agents - Hello Alex Tanguay realize the Islanders are in it seriously to become a winner sooner than later.
You know the Islanders are set in goal. if you are a free agent looking at the team, you see perhaps the next great phenom in John Tavares, you see very solid goal tending, you see an organization that seems to finally have its on ice agenda in place and sticking with it and you also see a plan in place for a sparkling new arena that appears to be imminent.
Maybe that pushes you towards the Islanders and away from Florida and Phoenix.
Which of the above do you think are true?