The Islanders underachieved years after years, struggling to win games. This year they made some big changes, and they looked very good so far in the first half of the season under Barry Trotz. Let see if they can set them apart from the rest of the metropolitan in the 2nd half of the season or things will even out and teams will get closer... It always has been a tough division to be in. We know we will be embracing the challenge.
What's clicking? All Islanders top 4 defensemans are producing efficiently at a very high rate. All 4 centres operating faceoffs at a rate greater then 50%. No leading scorers but alot of secondary scoring. We roll at 4 lines
Who left? Wingers like Alex Debrincat and Artemi Panarin, Dylan Strome and veterans like Nicklas Backstrom and John Klingberg all left in off season or early into the season.
Who's in? Some young talent like Nick Suzuki and Jordan Kyrou, and some toughness with Tom Wilson and Matthias Ekholm.
Even though we were leading the eastern conference at the time, we needed to keep adding up to stay at the same level as the competiton. So we went and add some poise by adding UFA veteran Brendan Tanev and Victor Hedman. They are both very reliable, responsable players and great at all zones of the ice.
We also had to give us better chance at the cup and that start in net. I was fine with Vitek Vanecek, he was doing a fantastic job with the Isles. But Dallas called with an offer including Juuse Saros, he wasn't doing very well for Dallas at that time so we made a goalie swap. Those add ons will have immediate impact on the team for the rest of the season.
Secondly, GM Flax Laplante did excellent moves today as he locked up some key pieces for his franchise.
Starting goaltender Juuse Saros and forward Ryan Hartman both agreed to 5 years deals.
The finland sensation goalie will be making 25millions during his new term. "The organisation is a class act and the fans are super loyal. My GM is the best dude I can ask for and I enjoy playing in my coach system. Me and my wife feel at home here, we just bought a new house and we love it!" Saros said.
Also on a 5 year deal we extended swiss knife cheese forward Ryan Hartman on a friendly contract at 1.8M for 5 years. Hartman didn't have the chance commenting the situation as his wife is delivring their 3rd child, but we all know how devoted he is to this organisation. He is an important tool in all situation for Barry Trotz.
Captain Nick Suzuki finally agreed to sign a 4 year deal extension with the Islanders. This is a strategic signing for the Isles management. Flax and Nick talked about it and this is what works best for both sides for now. Nick will be touching 7.3M annually. We will negotiate a longer term with him at the next stage of his career.
"I love the city of Elmont, I love being an Isles, it is a nice fit for me and I hope to stay here for a long time." Suzuki added.