Jun 4, 2011

Opinion: Remaining Isles UFAs/RFAs - Who to sign, who to let go?

AT: Well, with UFA period coming up and with the Isles facing a myriad of players either under RFA or UFA status, the question comes down to whether to resign certain players, whether to trade the rights to certain RFAs or whether to cut ties all togethere. Here's my breakdown:

Micheal Haley, C, UFA

AT:A name everyone in Islander-land knows, and everyone in Penguin-land wants to eviscerate from the Earth. I'm almost abnormally high on Haley Haley brought back a much needed toughness to the Isles in that infamous February brawl, and showed that if you go after our players, it will not go unnoticed. The notice being in the form of Haley's fist in your face. Haley showed he can score, he has some wheels and is a piece in this Isles team that should and will be quintessential to any future Islander playoff team.

Verdict: Re-sign, 2 years, $550K each..

CH: I like Haley, but I don't know how important he is to the future. Once you get to the fourth line, the parts are all relatively interchangeable. I think the Islanders are best served getting a fourth line veteran with playoff experience like Ryan Johnson (the Pens did this with Craig Adams via trade in 2009). Haley, in my opinion, is a depth call up type of player who can fill in when necessary, especially against division opponents.

Verdict: Re-sign, 1 year, 2-way contract for $550K

Josh Bailey, C, RFA

AT: This is a no-brainer for me in terms of resigning, the question is how much and for how long. We know the talent with Bailey is there. We saw it in the beginning of the season and in sporadic points throughout. His inconsistency was the problem. I believe Bailey will turn into a solid 55-60 point center, and could be a staple in the organization if that skill ever comes to fruition. Worst case scenario, if Garth sees things how I do, he'll draft a center in this year's draft and said center will take Bailey's place in 2 years after his deal is up. I believe in Harvey D--, er... Joshua Bailey.

Verdict: Re-sign, 2 years, 2.5m deal.

CH: Oh, the Josh Bailey argument. I'm sure there will be plenty more of that to go around here for quite a while. I like Bailey a lot. He's a great kid with great determination and it's clear he was put in a position where he could not succeed. He is only 21, but patience has to be running thin with him if this team is serious about making the next step. No team in this year's playoffs has a 25-30 point center on their top 3 lines. Either Bailey has to improve or the team has to improve. For the sake of the team, this year is put up or shut up for him.

Verdict: Re-sign, 1 year qualifier.

Blake Comeau, RW, RFA

AT: I loved what I saw from Comeau this season. Yes, there were some stretches of inconsistency, but overall I saw his game mature. However, a player like Comeau IMO is replaceable. If the right trade comes along and you need to throw in a player, I can see Comeau as the one going. I would love to keep him after his progression this year, but you can't make every player "un-tradeable".

Verdict: Re-sign, 3 years, 7-8m deal. If right trade comes along, throw in as trade chip.

CH: I completely agree with Alex here. Comeau is a very nice third line player, but in the grand scheme of things he is certainly replaceable. I wouldn't just throw him away because I'm not sure where the Islanders will be able to replace his 24 goals. Long term, I don't think he's the answer, but he definitely deserves a short-term type contract.

Verdict: Re-sign, 2 years, $4.25 million deal. 

Trevor Gillies, LW, UFA

AT: I think Trevor's a really nice guy in my interactions with him and I loved that he stuck up for his teammates, but he's a liability on the ice with his penalties. Sorry Trevor, gotta go.

Verdict: Let go.

CH: Yeah, there's no need for his on-ice shenanigans at this point. As much as I hate to admit it, he went over the top in the Pittsburgh game and to take another long-term suspension the game he got back...that's irresponsible at best. Nice guy, but nope. If the Islanders want another goon, there's plenty to go around though I don't think it's even necessary.

Verdit: Let go.

Bruno Gervais, D, RFA

AT: No. Defensive liability. Team NEEDS to improve, and he is not the way you do it, even as a 7-8 defenseman.

Verdict: Double no.

CH: Might be the nicest guy on the team, but it's time to move on. Wish him the best of luck.

Verdict: Let go.

Zenon Konopka, C, UFA

AT: I like Konopka a lot. He became a vocal leader for the team, can win important faceoffs and can chip in 10-15 points a year. Having him and Haley on the same line again would be great. Definite re-sign for me.

Verdict: Resign, 1-2 years, 600K per.

CH: This can go either way for me. I don't think the team is just going to forget Konopka if he isn't re-signed, but at the same time it's nice to have a player in the room who will stick up for anyone and everyone. Fact of the matter is though, his faceoffs are great but the rest of his game just doesn't compare well to his fourth line center competitors. He changed the culture and will forever be remembered for that if this team does well, but I think the team needs to upgrade his spot.

Verdict: Let go, reluctantly.

Jesse Joensuu, LW, RFA

AT: Would be fine for depth, but I'm indifferent either way. Wasn't impressed with the games he played.

Verdict: Re-sign for very cheap or let go.

CH: A very decent Bridgeport call-up. Not sure if he wants to stay in North America to play in the AHL though. He may decide Finland is a better option. And that's okay.

Verdict: Re-sign for a 1 year qualifier if he agrees to start in Bridgeport again.

Radek Martinek, D, UFA

AT: I like Radek. I really do. But with Ness, Donovan, possibly Wishart and of course De Haan in the system and Radek getting older, I think it might be time to part ways. Unless he's willing to sign a cheap 1-2 year deal, I'd advocate cutting him.

Verdict: Let go unless very cheaply signed for a year or two.

CH: I love Radek Martinek and appreciate the amazing amount of service time he gave to this organization over the past 10 years. But having him and Jurcina and Eaton and Mottau on the same blueline is just asking to be using Matt Campanale's again. Unfortunately, it's time to move on and get a top-4 defenseman in his spot moving Mottau down to #7 and Eaton/Jurcina as the bottom pairing where they belong.

Verdict: Let go.

AT: Finally, we have Ty Wishart, Jack Hillen and Dylan Reese. Wishart is still young and I believe will develop into a solid D-man. Hillen is good as a 7-8. Reese was pretty bad from what I saw from him. Keep, keep, let go.

CH: As far as these guys go, I pretty much agree with Alex here. Keep Wishart (you have to after giving up Roloson for him). Keep Hillen as the #8. Let Reese go, but sign some veteran AHL defensemen.

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