The New York Islanders are blessed with significant talent up front. But the team isn’t nearly as deep on defense and their musical chairs in goal have resulted in a net loss.
So what is that team to do now?
Forward P.A. Parenteau is a pending unrestricted free agent. He could multiply his $1.25 million salary on the open market. He wants to stay on Long Island. But he’s 29 years old and he knows this is one shot to get paid in the NHL.
Swirling speculation had the Islanders trying to pry the first overall pick from Edmonton. But the Oilers need help on defense, which, as we noted, is not a team strength of the Islanders. The top prospect in the 2012 draft might be defenseman Ryan Wilson – who is gaining additional exposure playing for Canada at the World Championships. (Conveniently, Oilers president Kevin Lowe is also general manager of Team Canada. Placing the youngster on the team allows him to evaluate him extensively.)
Goaltender Rick DiPietro is already preparing for the next training camp . . . and his next opportunity to get hurt. He played just 47 games in the past four seasons due to various injuries. Unfortunately for the Islanders, he has nine years left on his contract.
Islanders fans hope that an “amnesty clause” in the next NHL collective bargaining agreement will allow franchises to dump an onerous contracts. And DiPietro’s contract is the most onerous in NHL history. Veteran Evgeni Nabokov will return with a one-year deal and Kevin Poulin has a chance to become the Goaltender of the Future on Long Island.