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Just wanted to touch on some Isles news the last two days.
1. Yesterday, the Isles agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Cal Clutterbuck on a 4-year, 11 million dollar deal. The Isles acquired Clutterbuck at the draft along with a third round pick from the Minnesota Wild for forward prospect Nino Niederreiter. The news was broken by Arthur Staple, who does a tremendous job on the Islanders beat. If you are an Isles fan and do not follow @StapeNewsday on twitter, well you should.
I was somewhat surprised at the length and money on the deal Clutterbuck got. Snow has rarely given players who have yet to play for the Isles a long-term deal, so Snow must feel very confident that Clutterbuck is going to be part of the future core of this team. I thought an average cap hit of 2.75 million was a little on the high end (can not believe I am actually saying this about an Isles' contract) for Clutterbuck as well, but in the long run, it should turn out to be a pretty solid contract. Clutterbuck is going to quickly become a fan favorite on this team.
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2. There was a ton of confusion about Kevin Poulin being waiver eligible among every Islander reporter, blogger, fan, etc. There were disagreements everywhere about whether or not Poulin would have to pass through waivers to be sent to Bridgeport. Some of the confusion probably came from Garth Snow himself, who said Poulin would have to go through waivers to be sent to Bridgeport when he did a Q&A session with the Isles' Booster Club about a month ago. I mean, who would argue with the team if that is what they say.
Turns out, Poulin can be sent down to Bridgeport for one more season, without the Isles having to worry about another team claiming him. This gives the Isles some flexibility to add another veteran goalie to the mix if they are not completely confident in Poulin to tandem with Evgeni Nabokov. This allows the Isles to send Poulin down after training camp if Anders Nilsson outplays him for the back-up job during camp as well.
As I have said, this season is big for Poulin. On a 1-year deal, it is time for him to show what he has at the NHL level. If he does not play well this year, the Isles could let him walk after this season. I expect Poulin to make the team out of camp and prove to be a solid tandem with Nabokov this season.
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3. Josh Bailey filed for salary arbitration today. The Isles can still negotiate a new contract with Bailey before an arbitration hearing is set. Bailey's agent has played hardball with Snow in the past, and it seems to be happening again, as the Isles and Bailey do not seem to be seeing eye to eye on a new contract.
I would suspect it is more to do with the length for Bailey than the money on the contract the Isles are offering him. I am sure Bailey has seen guys like Travis Hamonic, John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Frans Neilsen, etc. get signed to long-term deals, and he wants that long-term stability himself. Bailey has been inconsistent in the NHL though, so the Isles might be looking to sign him to a shorter deal to see if Bailey finally turned a corner the second half of last season. Eventually, the two sides should be able to reach an agreement.
The Isles "Orange vs Blue" prospect scrimmage will be held out at The Coliseum tomorrow night 7/11 at 7PM. I will be at the game, and will have a recap late tomorrow night or Friday morning.
Also, I am going to run a series on the Isles top ten prospects in the system over the course of the summer. I am going to start with some honorable mentions, then move on and reveal one player each week starting at ten and ending at one. Check back tomorrow mid-day for the honorable mentions.
Follow me on twitter: @ed_omalley